Scientists Zero In on Genetic Clues to Anorexia
Markers linked to autism show up in eating-disorder patients
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 23, 2010 2:58 PM CST
This Jan. 2005 file photo shows Uruguayan model Eliana Ramos, 18, as she poses for a photograph in Punta de Este, Uruguay. Eliana died in February 2007 of an anorexia-linked heart attack.   (AP Photo/Ricardo Figueredo, FILE)

(Newser) – Researchers have found a set of genetic alterations linked to the development of anorexia, LiveScience reports. The eating disorder had previously been thought to be highly heritable, but specific genetic markers hadn't been identified. If more are found, people at risk for the disorder could be identified early.

In the latest study, one of the areas with variations has been previously identified with autism. "The fact that they come up now in this disease, which is another sort of neural psychiatric disease, is in my view, very intriguing," says the lead researcher. Any potential links will be examined in further studies.