"We've known for quite a long time that there are genetic factors influencing anorexia," Professor Martin added.
"The problem has been — do we know what the specific genes are … and that's what's taken us so long."
Professor Martin said the new findings might help piece together why patients struggle to maintain a healthy weight, even after undergoing treatment.
Gerome Breen, a geneticist at King’s College London, who co-led the study with US researchers at the University of North Carolina explains, via the Guardian, that in high-risk patients, the metabolism genes seem to combine with genes linked to psychiatric issues to raise the risk of anorexia. About half of anorexia is explained by genetics, with the rest attributed to life events and other factors.
Eating disorders and disordered eating together are estimated to affect over 16% of the Australian population. Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of all psychiatric illnesses. It affects between 1% and 4% of women and about 0.3% of men.
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