Scientists have found that the devastating eating disorder anorexia nervosa is not just a psychiatric condition but is also driven by problems with metabolism, The Guardian reported.
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder when a person has a pathological desire to lose weight.
Anorexia is usually treated with a combination of psychological methods (cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy) and programs implemented in the family, but treatment is not always successful.
The authors of the new study compared the DNA of 17,000 patients with anorexia and the DNA of 55,000 people from the control group and found eight genes that associated anorexia with anxiety, depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Scientists also drew attention to the genes that are involved in burning fat, are associated with physical activity and resistance to type 2 diabetes.
Thus, research shows that anorexia cannot be attributed to purely psychiatric pathologies.
Although these metabolism-related genes appear to be ‘healthy,’ they may be associated with genes that determine the psychiatric background of anorexia. Scientists point out that about half of anorexia cases can be attributed to genetics, and the rest to external factors.
According to scientists, these eight genes can explain only a small percentage of the incidence of anorexia. Most likely, for anorexia, as for many other disorders, there are hundreds of thousands of genetic options that increase the risk of their development.