Support: 866.543.6646
Sales: 855.489.1792

Anorexia Could Have Genetic and Metabolic Components, According to a New Study

Anorexia Could Have Genetic and Metabolic Components, According to a New Study

posted by: Nicole Hovey date: Aug 07, 2019 category: Blog comments: Comments Off on Anorexia Could Have Genetic and Metabolic Components, According to a New Study

Anorexia nervosa, more commonly called simply anorexia, is an eating disorder characterized by restricted eating that can cause low body weight, usually combined with distorted body image and a strong fear of gaining weight. Many people with anorexia don’t recognize how underweight they become, or how harmful their condition can be to their overall health.

It is believed that anorexia affects between 1-2 percent of women and 0.2-0.4 percent of men. Since anorexia has one of the highest mortality rates of any psychiatric illness, treatment is essential.

No direct cause of anorexia has been established, although there are many potential risk factors:

Perfectionist personality
Obsessive-compulsive personality traits
Social, cultural, or peer pressure to maintain a certain weight
A first-degree relative who had anorexia
Severe emotional stress

Current treatment approaches for anorexia

Anorexia treatment usually includes several approaches, given the complexity of the disease. Hospitalization may be required for severe cases, followed by careful, supervised weight gain.
Like most other eating disorders, anorexia is largely considered a psychiatric issue. People with anorexia are believed to be struggling with emotional problems, and associate their weight with their self-worth. Therefore, individual and family-based counseling is also recommended to help establish healthy eating patterns and behaviors and change distorted beliefs and thoughts about eating and weight.

New anorexia research, however, suggests that there are also genetic factors involved in the disease. These factors may not only be mental, but metabolic, as well, and so treatment may need to account for these additional factors.

What does the new anorexia study show?

In a new study published in Nature Genetics, researchers at King’s College London and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill looked at data from 16,992 cases of anorexia nervosa and 55,525 controls. Data came from individuals in 17 countries.

This genome-wide association study identified eight significant genetic loci, or locations. The data showed significant genetic correlations between anorexia and metabolic traits, lipid traits, and body measurements. This overlap occurred independent of genetic effects that influence body-mass index.

These findings indicate that providers may want to avoid assuming that metabolic abnormalities are a direct result of the eating disorder that will go away once anorexia is treated and weight has been regained. Addressing both the metabolic and psychiatric symptoms in patients with anorexia may lead to better results.

Results also showed that the genetic basis of anorexia overlaps with other mental-health issues. These included obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia. Some of the genetic factors associated with anorexia also were associated with physical activity, which may explain why people with anorexia tend to be more active.

Based on their findings, the researchers suggested that anorexia may need to be reconsidered a hybrid, “metabo-psychiatric disorder” rather than just a mental illness. The study authors noted that future, new treatments may need to incorporate both metabolic and psychological risk factors.

What does the new anorexia study show?

In a new study published in Nature Genetics, researchers at King’s College London and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill looked at data from 16,992 cases of anorexia nervosa and 55,525 controls. Data came from individuals in 17 countries.

This genome-wide association study identified eight significant genetic loci, or locations. The data showed significant genetic correlations between anorexia and metabolic traits, lipid traits, and body measurements. This overlap occurred independent of genetic effects that influence body-mass index.

These findings indicate that providers may want to avoid assuming that metabolic abnormalities are a direct result of the eating disorder that will go away once anorexia is treated and weight has been regained. Addressing both the metabolic and psychiatric symptoms in patients with anorexia may lead to better results.

Results also showed that the genetic basis of anorexia overlaps with other mental-health issues. These included obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia. Some of the genetic factors associated with anorexia also were associated with physical activity, which may explain why people with anorexia tend to be more active.

Based on their findings, the researchers suggested that anorexia may need to be reconsidered a hybrid, “metabo-psychiatric disorder” rather than just a mental illness. The study authors noted that future, new treatments may need to incorporate both metabolic and psychological risk factors.

EHR for behavioral health providers

Eating disorders like anorexia can be complicated for behavioral health providers to treat. The right EHR solution can help you track patient progress and coordinate care with other specialists for optimal results.
BestNotes EHR software was designed with you in mind. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help strengthen your practice.

Comments are closed.