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New study sheds light on role of genetics in recovering from eating disorders
Date:7/26/2011

A substantial number of people with eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa have a chronic course. They are severely underweight and have a high likelihood of dying from malnutrition. No treatment has been found that helps people who are chronically ill. Now, a new study sheds light on the reason that some people have poor outcome.

An international team of scientists, led by researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine and the Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI) in La Jolla, CA, has identified possible genetic variations that could influence a patient's recovery from an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia. Their findings, reported online in the journal Neuropsychopharmcology, may provide new insights into development of effective interventions for the most treatment-resistant patients with these disorders.

"This study sheds light on important 'SNPs' or genetic variations within an individual's DNA, associated with long-term, chronic eating disorders," said Walter H. Kaye, MD, professor of psychiatry and director of UCSD's Eating Disorder Treatment and Research Program, who was senior author with Nicholas J. Schork, PhD, director of bioinformatics and biostatistics at STSI and professor at The Scripps Research Institute. "These variations suggest genetic predictors for patients who may be particularly susceptible to eating disorders and whose illnesses are most difficult to treat effectively."

Kaye said such genetic traits are also linked to individuals with higher anxiety and higher concern over mistakes traits associated with anorexia and bulimia.

Researchers from the Price Foundation Collaborative Study were responsible for the study's data collection, while scientists at STSI and UCSD led the design of the study and the analysis of its results.

According to the study's lead author, Cinnamon Bloss, PhD, assistant professor at STSI, the findings could
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Contact: Debra Kain
ddkain@ucsd.edu
619-543-6163
University of California - San Diego
Source:Eurekalert

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