New Study Finds Association Between Genetic Variant and Eating Disorders

Genetic variations within the DNA structure of an individual has recently been associated with the long-term eating disorders of patients, as revealed by a new study carried forth by an internationally acclaimed team of researchers from the Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI) in La Jolla, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine, and the University of California. The results were announced in the Neuropsychopharmcology journal, few days back.

Body Image Disorder Genetics


The Genetics of Eating Disorders

DNA analysis of 1,878 women with one or more eating disorders was conducted to reveal an association between eating disorders, like anorexia and bulimia, with the genetic variation or SNPs (single-nucleotide plolymorphisms) of individual women who took part in the study.

The blood tests of all participating women were compared against the DNA of women who have no eating disorders. Specific strands that are usually linked with character traits of people with eating disorders were studied. This included characteristic traits, like fear of committing mistakes, higher anxiety, etc.

Eating Disorder – Is It in Your DNA?

After thorough DNA analysis, the team observed a pattern. A SNP, which has never been noticed before, was demonstrated by one strand. When compared with women with no eating disorders, it became apparent that only women with eating disorders have that SNP, thus making it clear that there indeed is at least some relation between genetics and eating disorders.

Cinnamon Bloss, the lead author of the study, suggests that this new revelation implies the need to develop an innovative approach to treat patients who have eating disorders by taking into account unique DNA characteristics of individual patients, as well as their psychological composition. This customized approach of treatment she believes will be a lot more effective than the usual approach which is used for all patients these days.

New Treatment Directions for Bulimia and Anorexia

This would probably also reduce the hesitation among patients to seek treatment for eating disorders as such in-depth researches will enhance their understanding and might even improve their overall outlook. This will also involve a better recognition of methods to interact with patients so that they do not panic and leave the medical premises. Doctors believe that such behavior is also a part of this illness and thereby should be treated along with it, instead of treating it as a separate problem.

Author Bio:

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Brenda Lyttle is a professional writer from Plainwell, Michigan. She has contributed content to print publications and online publications on topics like HGH supplements, diet pills, and various other drugs. Lyttle primarily works as a medical writer. She has earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English/journalism from Old Dominion University.

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One thought on “New Study Finds Association Between Genetic Variant and Eating Disorders

  • August 29, 2011 at 9:11 am

    For this to be more meaningful, the study must provide details about several aspects that are not mentioned here.

    First, what fraction of long-term eating disorders are from genetic (rather than other) causes? Perhaps it’s far more common to have environmental influences than genetic.

    Second, of the fraction that is likely to be of genetic origin, what percentage is attributed to the SNP reported by this study?

    Additionally, the variant SNP reported in this study to be associated with long-term eating disorders is the more common variant at this position in our genomes (carried by about 4 in 5 women); the more rare variant (carried by about 1 in 5 women) is actually reported to reduce the risk by about half of having a long-term eating disorder.

    For this study to be put in context, all of the above points should be addressed.


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