A study in Australia will hopefully provide information on the genes responsible for the eating disorder, anorexia nervosa.
Anorexia nervosa is a disorder in which a person is obsessed with maintaining low body weight. It commonly affects young adolescent women; the women severely restrict their eating, exercise vigorously, and may even vomit excessive food, with the sole purpose of remaining thin.
AdvertisementAnorexia nervosa has a genetic predisposition; some women are more likely to suffer from this condition based on their genetic make-up. However, the exact genes responsible have not been clearly identified. This issue is likely to be solved following the completion of a large study, the Anorexia Nervosa Genetics Initiative (ANGI), conducted by the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Australia.
The study aims to recruit around 8000 women suffering from anorexia nervosa to study the genetic linkage to the disease. The women will initially fill an online questionnaire to confirm the diagnosis, followed by blood tests.
The researchers re-iterate that by identifying the genes responsible for the condition, they can identify the patients at risk, and pay special attention to them. However, the mere presence of the genes may not compulsorily mean that the patient will suffer from the disease. A change in the environment could trigger the condition in these individuals.
The study provides hope to several patients to prove that the disease has a genetic basis and is not a purely a psychiatric disorder.