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Biomarkers of Length of Stay on an Inpatient Eating Disorder Unit

By Courtney E. Breiner, Baiyu Qi, Laura M. Thornton, Kimberly A. Brownley, Tonya Foreman, Anna M. Bardone-Cone, Cynthia Bulik, Jessica H Baker

Posted 19 Dec 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.12.17.20248429

Length of stay on an inpatient unit for treatment of anorexia nervosa (AN) is widely variable. Although previous research has used anthropometric and clinical variables and duration of illness to predict length of stay, there has been limited investigation of the predictive ability of biomarkers. Biomarkers, including those collected through a comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) and appetite hormones, such as ghrelin and leptin, are impacted by disease presence and may play an etiological role in AN. Using a series of regression models, we evaluated the associations of these putative biomarkers with length of inpatient stay in 46 females receiving treatment on an inpatient eating disorder unit. Active ghrelin levels at inpatient admission positively predicted length of stay and alkaline phosphatase at discharge was significantly positively correlated with length of stay. This research provides further evidence supporting both biological and psychological components of AN, identifying potential biomarkers that could aid in prospective prediction of treatment needs. Further research is necessary to replicate and extend these findings across treatment settings.

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