CHOP researcher confirms anorexia is genetic

    New research from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia confirms previous hypotheses that anorexia is partially caused by genetics.

    An earlier version of this story misspelled Dr. Hakon Hakonarson’s name.  This is the corrected version.

     

    New research from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia confirms previous hypotheses that anorexia is partially caused by genetics.

    In the largest genetic study of anorexia to date, released last week, researchers also found that the same gene that is linked to autism is associated with the eating disorder.

    Dr. Hakon Hakonarson, the lead researcher on the study , is head of the Center for Applied Genomics at Children’s Hospital. He said the connection between the two disorders is all about perception.

    “It’s sort of this distortion of social skills and interactions in one and sort of about your own body in the other one,” Hakonarson said.

    Hakonarson said the affected gene is responsible for connections among neurons — making nerve cells talk to each other. He said more research is needed to determine exactly how mutations in these genes affect how people see themselves in the mirror.

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