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Health & wellness

Daily Dose

Two gene mutations linked to eating disorders identified

Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia have long been known to run in families, but scientists haven’t been able to identify specific gene mutations linked to them — until now. In a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers studied the genes of two families severely affected by eating disorders and found two mutations associated with the mental conditions.

“These mutations are rare, occurring in less than 1 percent of the population,” said study coauthor Dr. Michael Lutter, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Iowa College of Medicine. But about 85 to 90 percent of the family members who carried one of these mutations wound up with either anorexia or bulimia. That compares to a prevalence of 1 to 4 percent in the general population.

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