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Video: Anorexia Was Not A Purely Mental Disorder
Anorexia was not a purely mental disorder
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Scientists have found that anorexia nervosa is not exclusively a mental disorder. Metabolic disorders contribute to its development. These findings may help explain the difficulties in treating this condition and help predict who is at risk. The research is published in the journal Nature Genetics.
The authors compared the DNA of 17,000 patients with anorexia and 55,000 controls. They received this data in the project Genetic Initiative for anorexia nervosa.
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder in which people are deliberately undernourished in order to lose weight (this desire for weight loss is considered pathological) or to prevent weight gain. This condition can have dire consequences for the body. Anorexia is treated with a combination of psychological methods (cognitive-behavioral therapy) and family programs. But treatment is not always successful.
Scientists have discovered eight genes that have linked anorexia with anxiety, depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). But researchers also looked at genes involved in fat burning, physical activity, and resistance to type 2 diabetes.
“Our study says we can no longer treat anorexia and possibly other eating disorders as purely psychiatric pathologies,” said Gerome Breen, a geneticist at King's College London and one of the study's lead co-authors.
He added that anorexia nervosa is expected to be associated with depression, anxiety and OCD, but it is definitely associated with a group of healthy genetic predispositions, which is not seen with other mental problems.
While these metabolic genes appear to be “healthy,” they may be linked to genes that determine the psychiatric prerequisites for anorexia. Scientists point out that about half of cases of anorexia can be associated with genetics, and the rest - with external factors.
The researchers point out that these eight genes can explain only a small percentage of the incidence of anorexia. They expect that for anorexia, as for many other disorders, there are hundreds of thousands of genetic variants that increase the risk of developing.
Jerome Brin believes that an intensive study of metabolism in anorexia and other eating disorders is now required in order to develop a metabolic-based treatment for these problems. Also an important advance would be the creation of a method that could predict the risk of recurrence of anorexia.
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