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Home Industry News Alcoholism and eating disorders ‘are genetically linked’

Alcoholism and eating disorders ‘are genetically linked’

21st August 2013

Alcoholics may be more genetically susceptible to certain types of eating disorders and vice-versa, according to new US research.

A study from the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis has assessed 6,000 adult twins in Australia, finding that common genetic factors underlie alcohol dependence and certain eating disorder symptoms, such as binge eating and purging habits.

Though it was previously understood that part of the risk for both of these conditions is genetic, this trial demonstrates that the same genes could be involved in both.

Currently, patients being treated for eating disorders are not generally asked questions about alcoholism and vice-versa, but this research shows that there could be benefits in trying to treat the two conditions at the same time.

Dr Melissa Munn-Chernoff, the study's lead author, said: "Other studies have focused on the genetic connections between alcohol dependence and eating disorders, but all of those studies looked only at women. Ours was the first to include men as well."

During 2009 and 2010, around one million hospital admissions in the UK were due to an alcohol-related condition or injury, while eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia can also have a severe effect on mental and physical wellbeing.ADNFCR-8000103-ID-801627992-ADNFCR

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