View Full Version : Genetic link found between eating disorders and obsessive compulsive disorder

02-25-06, 11:43 PM
Drug therapies may someday normalize cell function at gene's receptor's site
Feb 22/06
by Elizabeth Monier-Williams

Researchers at the University of Toronto have unravelled the genetic link between eating disorders and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) among women who experience both syndromes. Their study, published in European Neuropsychopharmacology, suggests how a particular gene influences OCD pathology in an eating disorder population.

“We’ve known for sometime that there are often high rates of OCD in families with eating disorders and, to some extent, vice-versa,” Levitan says. “For these individuals, the eating disorder becomes part of the way that their OCD is expressed. What isn’t known is what role genetics plays in the relationship between the two disorders.”

Levitan, along with Professor Allan Kaplan and other colleagues, genotyped 165 women between 16 and 55 with bulimia nervosa for a variant of the serotonin-1B receptor gene G861C allele, known to contribute to OCD. They also conducted structured interviews with the women to detect full or partial OCD, and found that among the 27.3 per cent who had the full or partial syndrome, the G861C polymorphism provided strong differentiation with the G allele being associated with the full syndrome and the C allele with the partial.

“These results tell us that this allele isn’t causing obsessive symptoms but working to moderate them,” Levitan says. “It may be that another gene is causing OCD, and that this allele works with that gene to affect the syndrome’s severity.” Tracing the genetic underpinnings of eating disorders is a challenging task because the syndrome involves multiple genes.

“Working with subgroups allows us to parcel out the genetic information and focus on one contributing factor, and may be a swifter path to practical solutions,” Levitan says. “For example, developing a drug to normalize cell functioning at this gene’s receptor site could be of particular benefit to those who are more likely to experience repetitive behaviour and be obsessed with different aspects of their eating disorder.”

03-20-07, 03:36 PM
I have spent years reading literature on eating disorders, physiology, nutrition, mentla health; trying to find my own way out. And the literature directed at medical people - for example, continuing education modules for nurses - are sooo lame. Just, no insight at all. I read them and think "Well, first of all that was a waste of time, and secondly, I feel so bad for anyone going to these writers and thinking they can get help". And I have for YEARS been convinced, with no data to back me up, that there was a link between eating disorders and OCD, just because of how it felt to me, and what I've read from other bulimics, and from reading what OCD feels like. And hooray, Andi, you found me some reinforcement! I feel soooo goooood right now!