Biological Link Behind Anorexia - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/6/06

Biological Link Behind Anorexia

New research from the University of North Carolina is helping bring some answers to the mystery of anorexia and why seemingly healthy people mostly young girls, become obsessed with thinness and starve themselves...often to death.

After studying thousands of twins, researchers at the university confirm earlier suspicions that anorexia has a biological link.

"These are not just disorders of choice indeed, the genetic component is quite large, 56 of liability to anorexia nervosa appears to be due to genes and not environment," said Dr. Cynthia Bulik.

Diane Brown lost her daughter to anorexia. "I remember one evening we said Lauren when you look at your leg, what do you see and she started crying and said it looks huge to me when it was really emaciated," she said.

Researchers now hope that by pinpointing specific genes, they will better understand how to help people like Lauren, a young adult who lost her battle with anorexia during medical school. But Dr. Bulik says the genetic link does not knock out environmental factors. She says it looks like genes may load the gun, but it's likely the environment that pulls the trigger.

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