Elisabet Wentz

Dublin 2013: Elisabet Wentz

Eating disorders and social communication

Original presentation and abstract by Elisabet Wentz (University of Gothenburg, Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre, Gothenburg, Sweden) on eating disorders (ED) and social communication disorder (SCD), held at the ESCAP 2013 Congress in Dublin, Sunday 7th July 2013.

Eating disorders (EDs) including anorexia nervosa (AN), bulimia nervosa (BN) and ED not otherwise specified, mainly affect females and the onset varies from prepubertal to adulthood. AN is the most feared ED with increased mortality and a high risk of a chronic course. Social communication disorder (SCD) is an impairment of pragmatics and is diagnosed based on difficulty in the social uses of verbal and nonverbal communication in naturalistic contexts, which affects the development of social relationships. Social communication in EDs has recently become a hot research area and most data, so far, is derived from AN studies. Starvation per se can cause poor social skills but retrospective data has shown that a subgroup of individuals with AN has social communication problems already during childhood, before AN onset. In Gothenburg prospective community based long-term follow-up studies of adolescent-onset AN have given us information on several aspects of social communication ranging from neuroanatomical correlates to neurocognitive profile and problems within the autism spectrum. Other studies imply that chronic cases of AN and BN exhibit a remarkably high prevalence of neuropsychiatric disorders including autism. Neuroimaging studies in AN individuals have shown deviant patterns similar to findings in individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The cognitive style in EDs resembles ASD regarding flexibility, central coherence, and mentalising and persist in many cases after recovery. Research is also indicating that a subgroup of males with ED exhibit SCD premorbidly and in adult years after recovery from the ED per se.
Keywords: eating disorders, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, social communication, autism, neuropsychology.

Download the full presentation here (pdf file, 19 slides).

Elisabet Wentz

Dr Elisabet Wentz is senior lecturer at the University of Gothenburg (Sweden), Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry manager of GNC, and associate professor of child and adolescent psychiatry and university hospital chief physician at the Gillberg Neuropsychiatric Centre (GNC, Gothenburg). She is a specialist in child and adolescent psychiatry and holds the Birgit Olsson lectureship at GNC. Her PhD thesis (2000) was titled ‘Ten-year outcome of anorexia nervosa with teenage onset’. Her current research includes longitudinal follow-up of eating disorders, the correlation between obesity, neuropsychiatry and eating disorders, eating disorders within the autism spectrum, non-pharmacological interventions (including IT treatment) in cases of neuropsychiatric disabilities, as well as neuropsychiatric comorbidity in cases of different syndromes. She has for many years been doing research at the Vårdal Institute, the Swedish institute for health sciences in Lund and Gothenburg. Elisabet has published around forty peer-reviewed scientific works as well as several book chapters. She supervises PhD students at GNC.


ASD, Eating Problems, and Overlap with Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa
Maria Rastam, Elisabet Wentz – Comprehensive Guide to Autism , Springer, Chapter in monograph, book - peer reviewed 2014

Experiences of rejection by mental health patients - A qualitative study 
Bertil Lundberg, Pia Lundqvist, Lars Hansson, Elisabet Wentz, Bengt Sivberg – Health, Volume 5, Issue 10, Pages 1553-1560 2013 
Journal Article, peer-reviewed

The importance of screening for ADHD in children and adolescents with obesity
Elisabeth Fernell, Elisabet Wentz, Christopher Gillberg – Acta paediatrica (Oslo, Norway), Volume 102, Issue 10, Pages e436–e437 2013 
Journal Article, peer-reviewed

The SWedish Eating Assessment for Autism spectrum disorders (SWEAA)-Validation of a self-report questionnaire targeting eating disturbances within the autism spectrum – Louise Karlsson, Maria Råstam, Elisabet Wentz 
Research in developmental disabilities, Volume 34, Issue 7, Pages 2224-33 2013

A case report of two male siblings with autism and duplication of Xq13-q21, a region including three genes predisposing for autism
Elisabet Wentz, Mihailo Vujic, Ewa-Lotta Kärrstedt, Anna Erlandsson, Christopher Gillberg – European child & adolescent psychiatry, Volume Epub ahead of print, 2013

Development of an internet-based support and coaching model for adolescents and young adults with ADHD and autism spectrum disorders: a pilot study
Elisabet Wentz, Agneta Nydén, Barbro Krevers – European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Volume 21, Issue 11, Pages 611-622 2012

Somatic problems and self-injurious behaviour 18 years after teenage-onset anorexia nervosa
Elisabet Wentz, I Carina Gillberg, Henrik Anckarsäter, Christopher Gillberg, Maria Råstam – European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Volume 21, Issue 8, Pages 421-432 2012

The sociocommunicative deficit subgroup in anorexia nervosa: autism spectrum disorders and neurocognition in a community-based, longitudinal study
Henrik Anckarsäter, Björn Hofvander, Eva Billstedt, I Carina Gillberg, Christopher Gillberg et al. – Psychological Medicine, Volume 42, Issue 9, Pages 1957-1967 2012