Evaluation of the Genetic Explanation of Anorexia

  • Created by: Rachie S
  • Created on: 07-02-17 19:37
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  • Evaluation of the Genetic Explanation of Anorexia
    • Supporting Studies
      • Grice et al 2002
        • Initial findings did not show any significant genetic evidence until they focused on a subgroup of 37 families where at least 2 relatives had been diagnosed with anorexia
          • In this sample there was strong evidence for a susceptibility on chromosome 1
            • Similar markers were found in afflicted pairs
        • Followed 192 families where 1 member had been diagnosed with anorexia and at least 1 other member had received an eating disorder diagnosis
      • Scott-Van Zeeland et al 2013
        • Found a specific genetic link when comparing 152 different genes in a sample of women with & a group without anorexia
        • There were significant differences in and around the EPHX2 gene
          • The gene produces the enzyme which metabolises cholesterol
          • The disruption to cholesterol processing could affect mood and eating behaviours
    • Credibility & Comparison
      • The research can be considered as reliable
        • The concordance rates for anorexia are relatively consistent
          • Replication can occur
      • Research may not be generalised.
        • The research comes from a volunteer sample of twins (limited sample)
          • There could be bias as twins have similar characteristics as do volunteers
      • The MZ concordance rates aren't 100%
        • The results are less accurate than expected
          • The method lacks validity
          • There must be other factors involved
            • Though it is difficult to find the cause as genes and environment are hard to separate
        • Although there may be a genetic, other factors must be involved
          • UntiEnvironments must play a role, for example the environment in the womb.tled
        • There may be validity issues
          • With twin studies we tend to assume that MZ and DZ twins are treated the same
            • However, MZ twins are identical so are much more likely to be treated similarly
              • We may therefore overemphasise the importance of genetic factors in comparison to environment
    • Opposing Studies
      • Wade et al 2007
        • Researched Australian female twins
          • Families of anorexics & bulimics
            • Higher levels of parental expectation were associated with bulimia
            • Higher levels of paternal protection were associated with anorexia
            • Made frequent comments about weight and shape as the child grew up
        • Environment has a role to play
    • Different Theory
      • An alternative theory for anorexia is the socio-cultural explanation
        • It suggests that Western culture has a large affect on the development of anorexia
          • It suggests that environment and culture play a role
        • There is research support from Nasser 1986
          • UntiFound that none if the Egyptian women in Cairo developed anorexiatled
          • 12% of the Egyptian women studying in London developed anorexia
    • Application
      • Some application
        • If you can identify the genes responsible for anorexia then early intervention could help prevent the occurance
          • This could help prevent anorexia in some individuals
            • Not a useful treatment,  it is prevention
    • Additional Points
      • There are other treatments that work despite not focusing on genes or biological factors
        • The cause of anorexia must not be biological but environmental
      • The explanation is credible and scientific
        • There is a lot of research which is carried out in controlled lab conditions
          • This allows for replication and objective analysis
      • Conan et al 2003 agrees with the diathesis stress model
        • Found that a genetic predisposition led to changes in early like ot the hypothalamic-pituitary axis (HPA) which can alter appetite regulation
      • The diathesis stress model could be important
        • This suggests that people may have a genetic predisposition to a disorder which occurs/ develops only in the right environment
          • Therefore, the genetic explanation is reductionist and ignores important environmental factors

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