Our work plan comprises an observational study by which we want to compare the microbiome of patients with a short duration of illness with the microbiome of those who are chronically ill. We hypothesize that changes of the microbiome of chronically ill patients are more profound than those of patients with a short duration of AN.
In addition, we want to administer polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and pro-/psycho-biotics (“live bacteria, which when applied in adequate amounts, confer mental health benefits”) to patients with AN, which have been shown to improve weight, mood and the course of many mental disorders.
Moreover, there is a well-known animal model for AN: access to a running wheel and reduction of food induce similar symptoms as observed in human AN, such as physical hyperactivity and amenorrhea. We plan to parallel our studies in humans with very similar investigations in rodents to better understand the underlying mechanisms of the disorder.
We hope that by intensively studying the microbiome in patients and animals we will have the chance to find new effective therapeutic tools.