REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202008.0461.v1
Subject: Medicine And Pharmacology, Dietetics And Nutrition Keywords: eating disorders; anorexia nervosa; bulimia nervosa; personality traits; screening tools; Covid-19
Online: 20 August 2020 (13:11:08 CEST)
This article aims to review the screening and diagnostic tools for eating disorders (ED). Eating disorders represent a complex pathology defined by an imbalance between hunger and satiety, installed in an emotional, traumatic, or conflictive context. Recently, the emphasis regarding ED is focused on the link between genetics, mental pathology, and the somatic and metabolic phenotype and early detection. Early detection and intervention can assure a better recovery and can improve a lot the quality of life of these patients. Methods: We selected ten articles of central importance on the topic in a systematic search on eight databases, articles selected on the type of scales, and size of the study. Results: We identified eight questionnaire scales used in large trials in ED disorders in the scanned literature, choose because we consider it the most accurate and the ones that evaluate best the pathology and the elements that are important as specific traits in ED. There are interview-type scales and self-administered scales. Interview scales are characterized by assessments of symptoms and diagnosis, while self-administered assess particular traits and the possibility of further development of eating disorders. The majority of the scales evaluated were described and used in adult populations. From all the scales assessed and analyzed, only three are described at the child population – it is EAT-26 (> 16 years), EDI-3 (>13 years), and ANSOCQ (> 13 years). Conclusions: It is essential to develop specific scales for people under 18 years of age, given the increasing incidence of ED among children and the need for early detection and appropriate intervention. Early detection of ED in children implies a simple and accurate evaluation at the primary care level or in schools, as the course of the disease can be subclinical for several years. Moreover, the need for accurate scales and telemedicine testing and diagnosis is of high importance during the COVID-19 pandemic as youth are at particular risk being psychologically affected due to disrupted education and social interactions - at a critical time.