Why Some People Are More Likely To Develop Anorexia and Bulimia

Photo courtesy of Science News
Photo courtesy of Science News

Did you ever wonder why certain people are more likely to develop anxiety, eating orders or other psychiatric related conditions? Well in short, it’s in your genes. A group of scientists have done research on mice and have discovered that when a certain gene receptor in their brains is altered or mutated and its ability to function is distorted, it ultimately effects their behavior. ESRRA, the gene in question, is an estrogen related receptor and helps control anxiety and inability to adapt in these mice.

There are some connections that are drawn by human beings creating the notion that in some families, certain people are more predisposition to develop and carry on certain psychiatric-related conditions like anorexia and bulimia which are both eating disorders. We know that from society, we are thrown with unrealistic expectations and standards of extreme dieting and weight expectations for both genders. However, our ability to cope and control our decisions in overcoming these harsh and brutal standards set by the media is a result of our inherited gene receptors. Families with and without damaged mutations of the ESRRA gene have been tested and those with eating disorders had consistent results of having the mutation and families who did not have eating disorders did not have this impairment.

Consequently these studied demonstrate the connection between the gene ESRRA and the individuals who have eating disorders. From this discovery we can come to a more accurate understanding of the genetic disposition of those who develop eating disorders over the span of their lifetimes and perhaps even research further in this field. Maybe we can use this perspective of these eating disorders and treat them more like medical diseases that we can cure with medicine, therapy and surgery.


Feltman, Rachel. “Scientists Manage to Give Mice ‘eating Disorders’ by Knocking out One Gene.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 09 Apr. 2015. Web. 11 Apr. 2015.


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