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Anorexia stems from body as well as mind – study
The origins of the eating disorder anorexia nervosa are in both the mind and the body, according to an international study.
Anorexia is seen as a serious psychiatric disease.
But doctors at King’s College London showed changes hardwired into some people’s DNA altered the way they processed fats and sugars and may make it easier to starve their bodies.
The eating disorder charity Beat said the findings were groundbreaking.
The researchers looked at 16,992 people with anorexia and 55,525 people without the disease, from 17 countries.
All their DNA – the blueprint for the human body – was analysed to find mutations in genetic instructions that were more common in anorexia patients.
The study, published in Nature Genetics, found some mutations also presented in other psychiatric disorders such obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, and schizophrenia.
But they also found mutations in the instructions that control the body’s metabolism, particularly those involving blood sugar levels and body fat.
“There is something in those systems that has gone awry,” Prof Janet Treasure, from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, told BBC News.
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