Investigating the Cause and maintenance of Anorexia Nervosa (The I-CAN Study)

About this study

This study is investigating the biological and environmental (‘neurobiopsychosocial’) factors involved in anorexia nervosa. The research aims to gain a better understanding of the factors involved in anorexia nervosa to help prevent the condition, and to aid the development of more effective treatments. The study will involve two in-person sessions at Swinburne University, Hawthorn.

Research TeamDr Andrea Phillipou (Principal Investigator)
InstitutionSwinburne University of Technology
Ethics Approval NumberProject ID Number: 55404 St Vincent’s HREC Reference: HREC117/19
Funding SourceNHMRC
Project Start DateJanuary 1, 2020
Project End DateDecember 22, 2023
ParticipantsWe are looking for females aged 18 years or older who identify with one of the following groups:
- Are someone who has had a lifetime (current or past) diagnosis of anorexia nervosa
- Are the sister of someone who has had a lifetime diagnosis of anorexia nervosa
- Are someone who has no lifetime history of any mental health disorder diagnoses
What is InvolvedParticipation in the study involves attending two in-person sessions (approximately ~3-4 hours duration each) at Swinburne University of Technology (Hawthorn, VIC). The first session will involve a clinical interview, questionnaires, and eye-tracking tasks completed using a special camera and a computer. The second session involves some pencil-and-paper tests and computer tests. You will also be invited to have an MRI scan of your brain, provide blood samples, and provide a gut microbiome sample (optional). We will also ask you to complete some tasks at home between the two sessions. You will be reimbursed a total of $120 in cash for completing the study.

For further information, please contact Dr Amy Malcolm at
LocationSwinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn, VIC
Contact Details

Dr Amy Malcolm (

See also

Sense of Self and Body Image in Anorexia Nervosa

Research suggests that sense of self (i.e how well you know yourself) to be an important factor in anorexia nervosa (AN), but our understanding of the role of sense of self in AN is still limited.

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Investigating cognitive factors related to eating disorders

Researchers at Swinburne University are looking for people to take part in an online study investigating the role of cognitive flexibility, perfectionism and rumination in eating disorders and disordered eating behaviours.

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Cognitive processing in eating disorders

This research aims to better understand cognitive processing of food information in people with and without anorexia nervosa.

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Using oxytocin to treat body dysmorphic disorder (BDD)

Many people with BDD continue to experience symptoms of BDD even when prescribed current best practice medications.

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