An ongoing, six-year study of 538 sets of twins in Michigan indicates that females who were in the womb with male twins have lower risk for eating disorder symptoms than females who were in the womb with female twins. Previous animal research has shown that females in the womb with males are exposed to higher levels of testosterone.
The new findings – from a team of MSU psychology researchers – are published in the March issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, out today.
“From these findings, it appears that testosterone exposure could have a protective effect against the development of disordered eating,” said project researcher Kelly Klump, MSU associate professor of psychology and president of the Academy for Eating Disorders.
According to the academy, 10 percent or more of late adolescent and adult women report symptoms of eating disorders at any given time.
Klump said researchers have known for years that women are more affected by eating disorders than men and that “some of that is due to social influences such as beauty ideals around thinness for women that we don’t have for men.”
But the question of whether biological influences also play a role has been an understudied area, she said. The fast-growing MSU Twin Registry, which includes more than 1,200 sets of twins ages 6 to 30, provided a substantial research population, said Klump, who runs the registry with Alexandra Burt, assistant professor of psychology.
Kristen Culbert, lead researcher on the project and a doctoral student in clinical psychology, said while societal differences have typically been used to explain why women are more affected by eating disorders, the new research is “significant in suggesting a biological explanation.”
Being raised with a brother did not account for the effects, Culbert added. That’s because researchers also looked at females who were not twins but grew up with a brother and found that those females were at higher risk for eating disorder symptoms than females who shared a womb with and were raised with a male.
Klump said the findings could ultimately help improve the treatment of eating disorders.
“More and more animal researchers are discovering how testosterone affects brain development,” she said. “So if we know there are protective factors against eating disorders, we can potentially determine which areas of the brain might be particularly sensitive to prenatal testosterone exposure and use that information to identify new biological treatments.”
Also on the research team were Burt and Marc Breedlove, Barnett Rosenberg professor of neuroscience.
For more information on eating disorders, visit the AED Web site, www.aedweb.org/.
Michigan State University has been advancing knowledge and transforming lives through innovative teaching, research and outreach for more than 150 years. MSU is known internationally as a major public university with global reach and extraordinary impact. Its 17 degree-granting colleges attract scholars worldwide who are interested in combining education with practical problem solving.
Using fragment-based approaches to discover new antibiotics
21.06.2018 | SLAS (Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening)
Scientists learn more about how gene linked to autism affects brain
19.06.2018 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.
Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...
Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...
Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.
Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...
The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.
Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.
An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.
Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...
13.06.2018 | Event News
08.06.2018 | Event News
05.06.2018 | Event News
21.06.2018 | Earth Sciences
21.06.2018 | Life Sciences
21.06.2018 | Earth Sciences