UNC CEED Announces the Launch of the Eating Disorders Genetics Initiative (EDGI)

We are excited to announce the launch of the Eating Disorders Genetics Initiative (EDGI), a global initiative to discover the genes that cause anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder. Researchers in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Denmark will collect clinical information and saliva samples from over 16,000 people with a history of eating disorders and individuals without an eating disorder. The goal of the research study is to transform our knowledge about the causes of eating disorders to work toward greater understanding and ultimately a cure.

Why is EDGI needed?

Eating disorders are serious, life-disrupting illnesses. Eating disorders affect millions of people, can lead to other medical complications, and can even be life-threatening. Eating disorders are influenced by both environmental and genetic factors. People of any body size, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and age can develop an eating disorder.

Unfortunately, treatments for eating disorders are limited and relapse rates are high. In order to improve treatments for eating disorders, we need to understand more about their causes. That’s why the EDGI research study is so important.

What do EDGI participants do?

•    Participation in the EDGI research study is confidential and easy

•    First, you complete an online survey. If a good fit for the study, you are invited to complete more online surveys about eating, mood, and life experiences and are sent a saliva sampling kit for DNA

•    After finishing the surveys and returning the saliva kit, you receive a $20 Amazon gift card

How can I be part of EDGI?

Participate – If you have ever had anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or binge-eating disorder, you are welcome to take our survey at edgi.org. If you have never had an eating disorder but also want to help, you can be a control (a group of people without the illness whose DNA we compare to the DNA of people with eating disorders).

Spread the Word – Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, (@EDGIstudy) and be sure to like and share our posts with your friends and followers. If you are a clinician, we are happy to send you materials about the EDGI research study to place in your waiting room. Just email us at EDGI@unc.edu.

How does participation work?

If you are eligible to participate, we will collect saliva samples (for DNA) using an easy-to-use “spit kit” sent to your home. You will also take online questionnaires about eating disorder history, anxiety, depression, and other topics that may be relevant to understanding the causes of eating disorders.

What’s our goal?

By taking DNA samples, we can compare the DNA of people with and without eating disorders to learn more about why some people get eating disorders. Our hope is that the results will help us develop new treatments that target the biology of the illnesses and help us to move toward a personalized medicine approach instead of a “one size fits all” approach to the treatment of eating disorders.

Only with your participation can we achieve our goal of eliminating these devastating illnesses.

Participants receive a $20 Amazon gift certificate. For more information, call 984-974-3798, email EDGI@unc.edu or visit www.edgi.org.