Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New study sheds light on role of genetics in recovering from eating disorders

Date:
July 27, 2011
Source:
University of California - San Diego
Summary:
A substantial number of people with eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa have a chronic course. They are severely underweight and have a high likelihood of dying from malnutrition. No treatment has been found that helps people who are chronically ill. Now, a new study sheds light on the reason that some people have poor outcome.

A substantial number of people with eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa have a chronic course. They are severely underweight and have a high likelihood of dying from malnutrition. No treatment has been found that helps people who are chronically ill. Now, a new study sheds light on the reason that some people have poor outcome.

Related Articles


An international team of scientists, led by researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine and the Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI) in La Jolla, CA, has identified possible genetic variations that could influence a patient's recovery from an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia. Their findings, reported online in the journal Neuropsychopharmcology, may provide new insights into development of effective interventions for the most treatment-resistant patients with these disorders.

"This study sheds light on important 'SNPs' or genetic variations within an individual's DNA, associated with long-term, chronic eating disorders," said Walter H. Kaye, MD, professor of psychiatry and director of UCSD's Eating Disorder Treatment and Research Program, who was senior author with Nicholas J. Schork, PhD, director of bioinformatics and biostatistics at STSI and professor at The Scripps Research Institute. "These variations suggest genetic predictors for patients who may be particularly susceptible to eating disorders and whose illnesses are most difficult to treat effectively."

Kaye said such genetic traits are also linked to individuals with higher anxiety and higher concern over mistakes -- traits associated with anorexia and bulimia.

Researchers from the Price Foundation Collaborative Study were responsible for the study's data collection, while scientists at STSI and UCSD led the design of the study and the analysis of its results.

According to the study's lead author, Cinnamon Bloss, PhD, assistant professor at STSI, the findings could eventually help pave the way toward a more individualized approach to treating patients with eating disorders. "Anorexia and bulimia likely stem from many different causes, such as culture, family, life changes and personality traits," said Bloss. "But we know biology and genetics are highly relevant in terms of cause and can also play a role in how people respond to treatment. Understanding the genetics behind these conditions is important, because it could eventually help us tailor treatment based on the person's genetic makeup, with the goal of more personalized and effective treatments."

Anorexia and bulimia are serious and complex psychiatric disorders. Anorexia nervosa is characterized by an inability to maintain normal body weight and a relentless pursuit of thinness; bulimia is characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating. In recent studies, researchers including Kaye have theorized that anorexia and bulimia likely share some risk factors, and that patients may be genetically predetermined to possess personality traits and temperaments that make them susceptible to the eating disorders.

"Individuals with anorexia in particular are often resistant to treatment and lack awareness of the medical consequences of their behavior, which can result in chronic, protracted illness and even death," said Kaye. "The question for us became, 'Are there prognostic factors that might help clinicians identify good versus poor outcomes for treatments including medication or psychotherapies?'"

The research team studied a total of 1,878 women in the large-scale candidate gene association study, which was designed based on hypotheses regarding the genes, pathways and biological systems involved in susceptibility to eating disorders. Most were individuals with a lifetime diagnosis of either anorexia or both anorexia and bulimia, who also exhibited lower body mass index, higher anxiety and higher concern over mistakes than control subjects.

The scientists then identified the top 25 most statistically significant SNPs (single-nucleotide polymorphisms), after evaluating a total of 5,151 SNPs in about 350 genes. According to Bloss, 10 of the 25 most strongly associated "haplotypes" (combinations of alleles for different genes that are located closely together on the same chromosome and that tend to be inherited together) involved SNPs in GABA genes. An intronic SNP on chromosome 4 of the gene GABRGI showed the strongest correlation to chronic symptoms. "The study suggests genes that may pre-dispose individuals to a chronic course of an eating disorder," Bloss said, adding that additional studies are needed to confirm such associations.

In addition to Kaye, Schork, and Bloss, contributors to the study include Wade Berrettini, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; Andrew W. Bergen, Center for Health Sciences, SRI International, Menlo Park; Pierre Magistretti, University of Lausanne Medical School, Switzerland; Vikas Duvvuri and Enrica Marzola, UC San Diego School of Medicine; Michael Strober, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine; Harry Brandt and Steve Crawford, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore; Scott Crow, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; Manfred M. Fichter, Roseneck Hospital for Behavioral Medicine, Prien, Germany and University of Munich; Katherine A. Halmi, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Medical College of Cornell University; Craig Johnson, Laureate Psychiatric Clinic and Hospital, Tulsa, OK; Allan S. Kaplan and D. Blake Woodside, University of Toronto; Pamela Keel, Florida State University; Kelly L. Klump, Michigan State University; James Mitchell, University of North Dakota School of Medicine; and Janet Treasure, King's College, University of London.

The study was supported by the Price Foundation of Switzerland and the National Institute of Mental health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - San Diego. The original article was written by Debra Kain. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Cinnamon S Bloss, Wade Berrettini, Andrew W Bergen, Pierre Magistretti, Vikas Duvvuri, Michael Strober, Harry Brandt, Steve Crawford, Scott Crow, Manfred M Fichter, Katherine A Halmi, Craig Johnson, Allan S Kaplan, Pamela Keel, Kelly L Klump, James Mitchell, Janet Treasure, D Blake Woodside, Enrica Marzola, Nicholas J Schork, Walter H Kaye. Genetic Association of Recovery from Eating Disorders: The Role of GABA Receptor SNPs. Neuropsychopharmacology, 2011; DOI: 10.1038/npp.2011.108

Cite This Page:

University of California - San Diego. "New study sheds light on role of genetics in recovering from eating disorders." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110726163504.htm>.
University of California - San Diego. (2011, July 27). New study sheds light on role of genetics in recovering from eating disorders. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110726163504.htm
University of California - San Diego. "New study sheds light on role of genetics in recovering from eating disorders." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110726163504.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) A study from University of Michigan researchers found that expectant fathers see a decrease in testosterone as the baby's birth draws near. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins