Anorexia is often combined with other psychiatric disorders
Health professionals have seen a dramatic increase in eating disorders in recent years. Anorexia nervosa is particularly widespread. This often occurs in combination with other psychiatric disorders and metabolic disorders, researchers report.
Eating disorder in combination with other psychiatric disorders
A few days ago, the former "Miss Saxony" Henriette Hömke died at the age of 29 as a result of her longstanding anorexia. Since then, numerous experts have pointed out what you should know about the dangerous eating disorder. Scientists from Austria are now reporting that anorexia has a genetic basis and often occurs in combination with other psychiatric disorders and metabolic disorders.
Genetic abnormalities on chromosome 12
Anorexia (anorexia or anorexia nervosa) is the most common eating disorder in Germany. A research group recently reported that it can also be congenital.
And in an international total genome analysis, it has now been shown for the first time that anorexia shows genetic abnormalities on chromosome 12.
The study was led by the University of North Carolina and published in the journal "American Journal of Psychiatry".
According to the experts, the new findings could lead to new therapeutic approaches.
Increased risk of anorexia
The child and adolescent psychiatrist Andreas Karwautz from the University Clinic for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at MedUni Vienna was responsible for the Austrian contribution, according to a statement.
The worldwide study, in which 220 researchers in international medical centers analyzed the genetic material of 3,500 people suffering from anorexia nervosa, showed that, compared to the control group of 11,000 people, the patients had a significant section on chromosome 12, which resulted in a contributes to increased anorexia risk.
It was also examined whether there was a correlation with other diseases. It was found that the significant section on chromosome 12 is in a region that is associated with type 1 diabetes and autoimmune diseases and insulin metabolic processes.
In addition, there were genetic correlations between anorexia, schizophrenia and neuroticism, which underpins the concept of anorexia as a psychiatric disorder.
Biological factors play an important role
Karwautz sees this study result as essential evidence that, in addition to the psychosocial components, biological factors also play an extremely important role in the occurrence of anorexia. This has great implications for improved therapies.
“In order to be able to offer patients and their relatives a meaningful, reality-based explanation for this third most common, long-term illness in adolescence, such studies are the basis. Prevention programs also benefit from the new results, ”said the expert.
In Austria around 7,500 young people currently suffer from anorexia. According to the Federal Statistical Office, a total of 8,079 patients in Germany were in inpatient treatment due to anorexia in 2015.
More and more girls are particularly affected by this serious and protracted illness, which leads to serious health problems due to extreme weight loss.
According to the MedUni report, 80 percent of the disease is curable so far, but there is also an annual mortality rate of 0.5 percent.
Genetic studies on identical twin children already know that around 60 percent of genes are responsible for the development of anorexia nervosa. So far, it has only been insufficiently known which gene segments are decisive. (ad)