Physical causes of anorexia: how research may change the way nurses are trained

Findings could influence the care we provide and remove stigma for patients
Genes illustration forming face. Picture: iStock

Findings could influence the care we provide and remove stigma for patients

Recent developments from an international research collaboration show that the debilitating condition anorexia nervosa could be amenable to metabolism-based therapies.

The Psychiatric Genomics Consortium’s team of researchers, led by geneticists at King’s College London and the University of North Carolina in the US, compared the DNA of 16,992 people with anorexia and 55,525 healthy controls.

Not purely a psychiatric illness

They identified eight genes that linked anorexia to other mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorder. But the researchers also found genetic links to physical activity, the metabolism of glucose and how the body burns fat, suggesting that anorexia is not purely a psychiatric illness.

At this early stage, there is a reluctance to predict how this understanding may play out in


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