genetic explanation for anorexia

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  • Genetic explanations for AN
    • AN results from an inherited predisposition
      • evidence - increased risk for 1st degree relatives w/ disorder.
    • Testing
      • twin studies
      • gene-profiling
        • search for common genes between sufferers
    • Holland (1988)
      • twin study
      • AN has a genetic basis
      • other factors must be involved in AN otherwise, MZ would be 100%
    • Strengths
      • Bulik (2006) found an AN incidence (in 31,406 Swedish twin pairs) of 1.2% for females, 0.29% for males w/ heritability  of disorder at 56%
        • sig genetic influence in development of AN
      • Scott-Van Zeeland et al (2014) found variants of EPHX2 gene, involved w/ cholesterol function in body, more common in those w/ AN
        • findings suggest contributory role for genetic
    • Weaknesses
      • multiple genes involved + environmental factors, makes it diff to identify + quantify role of individual genes
        • diff levels of influence on diff people.
      • if genes solely responsible, concordance rates b/ween MZ twins would be 100%, but not
        • suggests other factors involved - eg. nurture, neural etc
    • genetics seen as only partly contributing - give level of inherited vulnerability
      • when they develop AN dependent on presence of other factors, eg environmental stress


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