Eating disorders

Mental health

At a glance

Biomarkers for anorexia and autism

Lead researcher

Dr Kate Tchanturia


King's College London



Amount awarded


Last updated



Dr Kate Tchanturia’s project expands on her existing Medical Research Foundation and MRC-funded study, ‘The Triple A study (Adolescents with Anorexia and Autism symptoms)’

Dr Tchanturia will revisit participants from her previous study to predict the likelihood and length of recovery from anorexia nervosa and examine the independent, but interlinked, effects of anorexia, autism symptoms, and ageing.

By understanding the underlying mechanisms which underpin illness development, this research will aid the development of targeted interventions both nationally and internationally. More broadly, this work could pave the way to reducing stigma and shame around anorexia nervosa, and create a greater recognition of its interaction with autism spectrum disorders.

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Mental health - Eating disorders and self-harm

  • Why is there a need to fund new research?

    Despite an increase in young people affected by eating disorders and self-harm, there is still limited research focusing on what causes these devastating mental health problems. As many as one in six teenagers have self-harmed at some point, and self-harm is the strongest known risk factor for suicide. Eating disorders are also common, affecting around 15 per cent of young women and over three per cent of young men.

    Although up to half of people with an eating disorder have self-harmed, we also know little about why these mental health problems often occur together.

    Building on a previous £1.3 million investment in eating disorders and self-harm research by the Foundation and the MRC (part of UK Research and Innovation), these new research projects will improve our understanding of what causes these conditions and ultimately, it is hoped these insights will lead to earlier intervention and better treatments.

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