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Historic Breakthroughs in Genetic Research Point To New Targets For Eating Disorder Treatment

F.E.A.S.T. Advisor, Dr. Cynthia Bulik, has just announced truly historic eating disorder news: genetic markers for anorexia nervosa. In a 4-part series just published, Dr. Bulik explains what recent genetic analysis means for families:

A new explanatory framework

“Something was missing. So often parents would describe these incredible transformations in their children that marked their descent into anorexia and their relief during recovery when they could see glimmers of their pre-illness child again. Patients described wanting to eat and wanting to be well, but not being able to push through an impenetrable barrier that would allow them to eat and gain weight. I guess you could say that my career has been a quest to find an explanation that actually fit and accurately accounted for the most perplexing aspects of anorexia nervosa.

Food is actually medicine

“Maybe negative energy balance is the switch that engages whatever metabolic process it is that begins the descent into anorexia nervosa. If anything, I feel more confident in that recommendation now given our findings. Basically, anorexia nervosa becomes part of your health legacy. That does not mean that you cannot recover, but it does mean that you need to be vigilant”

Not just anorexia

“I think in our next stages when we expand our sample size and open up recruitment to bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder things will go even better because we no longer need blood samples! Technology has advanced in the past six years such that a simple saliva sample will allow us to do the same analyses that we needed blood for in ANGI.”

We congratulate Dr. Bulik and the ANGI team, and offer our strong and ongoing support to the EDGI project on this historic week.

For more takes on this exciting progress:

Scientists have found that anorexia is linked to metabolism

Genetic study reveals metabolic origins of anorexia

Genome-wide association study identifies eight risk loci and implicates metabo-psychiatric origins for anorexia nervosa

Genes linked to anorexia nervosa identified in study involving Queensland scientists

Scientists have found that anorexia is linked to metabolism

EDGI: to study the range of eating disorders

Anorexia may originate in the body, not just the mind, groundbreaking study says

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