Genetic study reveals metabolic origins of anorexia

Anorexia is at least partly a metabolic disorder and not just psychiatric as previously thought, new research suggests.

The genetic basis of anorexia nervosa overlaps with metabolic, lipid and body measurement traits, according to researchers.

They say this is independent of genetic factors that influence body mass index (BMI).

Dr Gerome Breen, from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre and the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, at King’s College London, said: “Metabolic abnormalities seen in patients with anorexia nervosa are most often attributed to starvation.

“But our study shows metabolic differences may also contribute to the development of the disorder.

“Furthermore, our analyses indicate that the metabolic factors may play nearly or just as strong a role as purely psychiatric effects.”

Another finding was that the genetic basis of anorexia overlaps with other psychiatric disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia.

Genetic factors associated with anorexia also influence physical activity, which could explain the tendency for people with anorexia to be highly active, the research indicates.

Led by researchers at King’s College London and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the study is published in Nature Genetics.

Eight genetic variants linked to anorexia were identified in the large-scale genome-wide association study.

Anorexia is a serious and potentially life-threatening illness, and symptoms include a dangerously low body weight, an intense fear of gaining weight, and a distorted body image.

It affects between 1% to 2% of women and 0.2-0.4% of men. It has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness.

Researchers combined data collected by the Anorexia Nervosa Genetics Initiative and the Eating Disorders Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium.

The dataset included 16,992 cases of anorexia and 55,525 controls, from 17 countries across North America, Europe, and Australasia. Professor Janet Treasure, also from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London, said: “Over time there has been uncertainty about the framing of anorexia nervosa because of the mixture of physical and psychiatric features.


Recent Posts

Maryam moves LHC seeking removal of name from ECL

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz on Saturday filed a petition in the Lahore High Court (LHC) seeking…

9 hours ago

Selected government cannot alleviate economic, governance crises: Bilawal

Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto on Saturday said that infrastructure had to be focused on to fight the…

9 hours ago

PML-N leaders meet in London to discuss COAS extension, other issues

A group of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders held a meeting in London on Saturday with party president Shehbaz Sharif…

9 hours ago

Govt to reach out to BNP-M, GDA to keep coalition intact

The federal government has decided to reach out to the Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) and the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA)…

9 hours ago

Nation still awaits Shehbaz’s reply to 18 questions on money laundering: Firdous

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Saturday said the whole…

9 hours ago

1 dead, 6 injured in blast at refrigerator shop

A blast at a refrigerator workshop in Lahore's Township area on Saturday left one person dead and at least six…

9 hours ago