Metabolic Mystery Revealed
A new genome-wide study shows that anorexia nervosa is not purely psychiatric – metabolic factors also play a role
Michael Schubert |
Anorexia nervosa is a devastating disorder – psychologically and physically damaging, tenacious in its grip on those diagnosed, and sometimes even fatal. It is usually diagnosed and treated by a psychiatrist – but now, new research asks: is the disorder exclusively a mental illness? A genome-wide association study (GWAS) conducted by researchers at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine has discovered strong correlations with psychiatric traits like neuroticism and schizophrenia – but, unexpectedly, also with metabolic features, such as insulin-glucose metabolism. Cynthia Bulik, Professor of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Karolinska Institutet and Founding Director of the UNC Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders, discusses her team’s discovery of a significant locus for anorexia nervosa on chromosome 12 (1).
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