Researchers identified eight genetic markers that correlate the disease, commonly called anorexia, to some of the same genetic factors that also affect the risk for psychiatric disorders – such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), depression and anxiety; high physical activity; and metabolic and anthropometric traits such as the low body mass index (BMI).
"It means that when we think about anorexia nervosa, we need to think that it is not just a psychiatric disorder but also a metabolic disorder," lead researcher Cynthia Bulik told CNN
Why is that significant? Anorexia is commonly treated as a purely psychiatric disorder ̵
The research could lead to the development of a medication for anorexia
Although researchers have identified the role of metabolism plays in anorexia, they still need to go further into biology to understand what that role is and how it affects the anorexia. risk of anorexia. That involves investigating even more DNA – they are aiming for 100,000 samples – and partnering with neuroscientists and pharmacogenetics to identify the underlying biological pathways and developmental treatments that actually target the biology of the disease
Right now, Bulik said there have no medications that effectively treat anorexia, and she's not convinced that medication alone will suffice.
In the meantime, Bulik said the team is very grateful to me,
"This work honors their suffering and their families, desperation to understand and find effective treatments," she said.