Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder all have many possible genes that predispose the individual to the particular disorder in accompaniment to the main psychiatric aspect. Is it the media and unrealistic magazine images that ‘encourage’ this disorder or something that is predetermined by our DNA?In a 1996 research study funded by the Price Foundation  collected data on 600 families with members with two or more members with anorexia or bulimia, then on 700 families with three or more members with the disorders and a control group of 700 women for comparison. Areas on chromosomes 1 and 10 seem to be linked to anorexia and bulimia in this study and in another study by the University of Pennsylvania, chromosome 1 was where markers aggregated by linkage analysis.
This genetic discovery in eating disorders shows that it’s wrong for the public to focus on the social factors that have been blamed for eating disorders and body issues; those images only cause the disorders if the genetic factor is already present. An advantage would be that when these genetic factors are identified in an individual, preventative measures and different psychotherapies can be put into place. The fact that these eating disorders will be proven to be caused by genetics will reduce stigma also (hopefully); the individuals will no longer be blamed for an issue that they haven’t chosen themselves but has been ‘dealt’ to them.
In fact, the story of the image of women in media being a huge factor in the eating disorders must be widely exaggerated because if it was just this that caused eating disorders, the effect would be much more than just 4% ; most people walk away from a diet or being bombarded with false perfection without being affected, so there must be something different in the ‘wiring’ in the 4% that can’t walk away in this manner and are actually greatly affected. The increase reported in eating disorders is because of how diet focused society is today which further exposes these predispositions due to DNA more than in previous generations.
Similar with many areas of research today, this is just the first to many steps in order to develop a treatment or therapy to cause a significant change and understanding in the topic area of eating disorders.
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