The Anorexia Nervosa Genetics Initiative (ANGI): Overview and methods

Contemp Clin Trials. 2018 Nov;74:61-69. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2018.09.015. Epub 2018 Oct 1.


Background: Genetic factors contribute to anorexia nervosa (AN); and the first genome-wide significant locus has been identified. We describe methods and procedures for the Anorexia Nervosa Genetics Initiative (ANGI), an international collaboration designed to rapidly recruit 13,000 individuals with AN and ancestrally matched controls. We present sample characteristics and the utility of an online eating disorder diagnostic questionnaire suitable for large-scale genetic and population research.

Methods: ANGI recruited from the United States (US), Australia/New Zealand (ANZ), Sweden (SE), and Denmark (DK). Recruitment was via national registers (SE, DK); treatment centers (US, ANZ, SE, DK); and social and traditional media (US, ANZ, SE). All cases had a lifetime AN diagnosis based on DSM-IV or ICD-10 criteria (excluding amenorrhea). Recruited controls had no lifetime history of disordered eating behaviors. To assess the positive and negative predictive validity of the online eating disorder questionnaire (ED100K-v1), 109 women also completed the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID), Module H.

Results: Blood samples and clinical information were collected from 13,363 individuals with lifetime AN and from controls. Online diagnostic phenotyping was effective and efficient; the validity of the questionnaire was acceptable.

Conclusions: Our multi-pronged recruitment approach was highly effective for rapid recruitment and can be used as a model for efforts by other groups. High online presence of individuals with AN rendered the Internet/social media a remarkably effective recruitment tool in some countries. ANGI has substantially augmented Psychiatric Genomics Consortium AN sample collection. ANGI is a registered clinical trial: clinicaltrials.govNCT01916538;

Keywords: Anorexia nervosa; Eating disorders; Genome-wide association; Psychiatric genetics; Psychiatric genomics consortium; Social media.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anorexia Nervosa / diagnosis*
  • Anorexia Nervosa / genetics
  • Australia
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Denmark
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Middle Aged
  • New Zealand
  • Patient Selection
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden
  • United States
  • Young Adult

Associated data