March 10, 2020
Eating disorders put under microscope
University of Otago health researchers want to hear from people with first-hand experience of an eating disorder.
It’s part of the international Eating Disorders Genetics Initiative, which aims to identify hundreds of genes that influence a person’s risk of developing anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder.
Lead investigator Cynthia Bulik from the University of North Carolina says preliminary research shows anorexia nervosa has both psychiatric and metabolic origins, which explains why people living with the disorder struggle to gain weight, despite their best efforts.
The New Zealand part of the study is an opportunity to further investigate the complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors that contribute to eating disorders.
The study hopes to include Māori and Pacific volunteers, as data suggest eating disorders are at least as common among those populations, but they are less likely to access eating disorders health services.
New Zealand co-lead investigator Jennifer Jordan says the study will analyse DNA from saliva samples to pinpoint specific genes associated with eating disorders.
TO VOLUNTEER GO TO WWW.EDGI.NZ
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