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

eventually help pave the way toward a more individualized approach to treating patients with eating disorders. "Anorexia and bulimia likely stem from many different causes, such as culture, family, life changes and personality traits," said Bloss. "But we know biology and genetics are highly relevant in terms of cause and can also play a role in how people respond to treatment. Understanding the genetics behind these conditions is important, because it could eventually help us tailor treatment based on the person's genetic makeup, with the goal of more personalized and effective treatments."

Anorexia and bulimia are serious and complex psychiatric disorders. Anorexia nervosa is characterized by an inability to maintain normal body weight and a relentless pursuit of thinness; bulimia is characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating. In recent studies, researchers including Kaye have theorized that anorexia and bulimia likely share some risk factors, and that patients may be genetically predetermined to possess personality traits and temperaments that make them susceptible to the eating disorders.

"Individuals with anorexia in particular are often resistant to treatment and lack awareness of the medical consequences of their behavior, which can result in chronic, protracted illness and even death," said Kaye. "The question for us became, 'Are there prognostic factors that might help clinicians identify good versus poor outcomes for treatments including medication or psychotherapies?'"

The research team studied a total of 1,878 women in the large-scale candidate gene association study, which was designed based on hypotheses regarding the genes, pathways and biological systems involved in susceptibility to eating disorders. Most were individuals with a lifetime diagnosis of either anorexia or both anorexia and bulimia, who also exhibited lower body mass index, higher anxiety and higher concern over mistakes than control subjects.'/>"/>

Contact: Debra Kain
ddkain@ucsd.edu
619-543-6163
University of California - San Diego
Source:Eurekalert

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