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Eating Disorders May Be Inherited Condition

A new study of twins conducted by researchers and Virginia Commonwealth University suggests that bulimia nervosa, an eating disorder common among college-age women, is inherited in approximately 80% of cases. The researchers noted that environment may also play a role.

Patients with bulimia nervosa go through cycles of binge eating and then purging through self-induced vomiting, or use of laxatives and diuretics.

The study, published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, was based on two sets of interviews conducted with approximately 1,900 female identical and fraternal twins. Researchers found that bulimia nervosa was found in both members of a pair of identical twins much more often than it was among fraternal twins.

Researchers at VCU, the University of Pittsburgh and five other research centers will try to identify the exact genes responsible for bulimia by studying the disease among blood relatives. If you would like to participate in the study, call 1-888-895-3886.

Sources:

Washington Post - December 15, 1998

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