Research Questions

Do people with eating and weight disorders exhibit another microbiota (intestinal flora) than healthy people?
• Does the microbiota change with weight gain or a change of eating and nutritional behavior?
• How do diet, intestinal microbiota and psyche influence each other?
• How do gastrointestinal infections and psyche interact in the development of functional gastrointestinal disorders - in adults as well as children?
• What is the prevalence of functional and somatic constipation in a representative population sample in Germany?

Current Projects

These are some of the projects we currently investigate:
• the composition of human intestinal microorganisms in anorexia nervosa patients before and after weight gain compared to normal-weight participants (MICROBIAN study).
• the influence of a meatless (vegetarian, vegan) diet on the microbiome and on health
• risk factors for the development of a post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome after (travel-associated) gastrointestinal infection in adults (PiiiT study) and in children (KiGGS data)
• Prevalence and characteristics of constipation in a representative population sample (N = 15000) (GECCO-study)
• the cortical representation of visceral functions and states (NeuroGUT, EU training network)


The role of probiotics to aid weight gain and improving gut health in anorexia nervosa patients together with conventional therapy
• Identification of risk groups for post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome and possible prevention strategies in both children and adults

Research Group Leader

Prof. Dr. Dipl.-Psych. Paul Enck