Sadly, people with eating disorders often face a long-term battle. Those with anorexia nervosa, for instance, are often severely underweight and have a high likelihood of dying from malnutrition. Now, a new study sheds light on why some people have poor outcomes.
An international team of scientists has identified possible genetic variations that could influence a patient’s recovery from an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia. Researchers believe their findings may augment development of effective interventions for the most treatment-resistant patients with these disorders.
“This study sheds light on important ‘SNPs’ or genetic variations within an individual’s DNA, associated with long-term, chronic eating disorders,” said Walter H. Kaye, M.D. “These variations suggest genetic predictors for patients who may be particularly susceptible to eating disorders and whose illnesses are most difficult to treat effectively.” Interestingly, the genetic traits are also linked to individuals with higher anxiety and higher concern over mistakes – traits associated with anorexia and bulimia.
According to the study’s lead author, Cinnamon Bloss, Ph.D., the findings could eventually help pave the way toward a more individualized approach to treating patients with eating disorders.
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