Research Unit on Epidemiology and Evaluation
Head: Prof. Dr. med. Dipl.-Psych. Manfred Fichter
The history of epidemiology goes back more than 2000 years. Hippocrates used the term epidemic and wrote down remarkable deliberations on the relationship between diseases and environmental factors (airs, places, waters).
The first mortality table (a systematic compilation of deaths for each year) was produced in 1693 by the astronomer Halley for the town of Breslau.
Epidemiology sees itself as a basic science and deals with:
- The frequency of occurrence of diseases
- The change in prevalence rates over time
- The course of diseases
- Identification of risk factors for the onset of diseases and for an unfavourable disease course
- Identification of protective factors that prevent the development of diseases or support a favourable course
Protective and risk factors can be conditions in the surroundings of the affected person (environmental and occupational conditions, etc.), characteristics and forms of behaviour of the affected person or of other people or a mixture of some or all of these. Epidemiological knowledge allows the causes of diseases to be identified, the efficacy of health measures to be determined and the foundations of statements on individual chances and risks to be developed.
Central findings from our research were: Patients treated for anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa or binge-eating disorder show considerable improvement over time. Eating disorder and general psychopathology remains elevated and a considerable percentage of patients shows a chronical course of their eating disorder.
To support scientists and clinical practitioners in practice and clinical research we developed, validated and published several assessment instruments for eating disorders. Each assessment can be downloaded for clinical practice and research from this page without cost.
In addition, several psychotherapy interventions were evaluated in patients with eating disorders and their carers.
Long-term course and outcome of eating disorders in women and men
Development of psychiatric interviews and questionnaires
- Follow-up of treated eating-disordered males and gender-specific risk factors - A prospective, controlled study.
- Long-term course and outcome of eating disorders in women.
The most important publications concerning our present research focus can be viewed here.
Research unit on psychotherapy and medical care with emphasis on eating disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorders, Klinikum der Universität München (LMU), Klinik und Poliklinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie. Head: Prof. Dr.med. Ulrich Voderholzer