Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

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

27.07.2011
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.

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.

Debra Kain | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucsd.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Scientists spin artificial silk from whey protein
24.01.2017 | Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY

nachricht Choreographing the microRNA-target dance
24.01.2017 | UT Southwestern Medical Center

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists spin artificial silk from whey protein

X-ray study throws light on key process for production

A Swedish-German team of researchers has cleared up a key process for the artificial production of silk. With the help of the intense X-rays from DESY's...

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Breaking the optical bandwidth record of stable pulsed lasers

24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Choreographing the microRNA-target dance

24.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Spanish scientists create a 3-D bioprinter to print human skin

24.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>