Article Link: genetic-study-points-to-metabolic-roots-of-anorexia-nervosa-66159
Supporting Article: researchers-explore-the-genetics-of-eating-disorders-65237
Through the biggest research on anorexia nervosa eating disorders, it was discovered that there are eight different genetic markers for the disorder. There is connection between AN and a locus overlapping six genes on chromosome 12 (Am J Psychiatry, 174:850–58) which is a chromosome that is linked to other disorders such as autoimmune diseases, and diabetes 1. Leading to the confirmation that the disorder has both psychiatric and metabolic origins. The disorder "claims more lives than any other psychiatric disorder. The condition affects up to 2 percent of women and 0.3 percent of men worldwide." psychiatrists have always struggled to find a treatment for the disorder due to its branched causes.
In a breakthrough discovery, it was found that the disease is linked to the body’s ability to metabolize sugars and fats (insulin-glucose metabolism) and is related to high levels of physical activity. It was also found that characteristic single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) GABRG genes—which code for receptors involved in neural signaling that anorexia shares with several other psychiatric disorders, such as obsessive compulsive disorder, major depressive disorder and schizophrenia. Researchers have established that AN is 50 percent to 60 percent heritable. How the disorder works is that it allows the body to live without food longer than normal. This helps scientists to understand the disorder more and take metabolism and the patient's family history and genome into consideration when they work on a treatment plan for their patients.
I find these articles interesting as it changes no only the way psychiatrists view the disorder but how the patients, their family, and society views the disorder as well. Finding a biological tie to the disorder allows the patient to feel better about themselves and relieves some of the shame, excessive self-criticism and guilt they experience. It helps the society understand the disease more and know that this is a biological as well as it is a psychiatric disorder and not just a diet that an individual chooses.