Researchers in a study to be published in the September issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, summarized in ScienceDaily, have found that the same genes may be involved in both alcohol addiction and eating disorders in both men and women. Prior studies had found such a connection in the case of women. The study under discussion is the first to look for a genetic connection for alcoholism and eating disorders in men.

Per the ScienceDaily summary:

"The researchers reported that people with alcohol dependence may be more genetically susceptible to certain types of eating disorders and vice versa. *** "In clinical practice, it's been observed that individuals with eating disorders also have high rates of alcohol abuse and dependence," said Melissa A. Munn-Chernoff, PhD, the study's first author. "Other studies have focused on the genetic connections between alcohol dependence and eating disorders, but all of those studies looked only at women. Ours was the first to include men as well."*** "We found that some of the genes that influence alcohol dependence also influence binge eating in men and women."

It is commonly thought that eating disorders occur only in women, but the disorder also can be found in men. This research suggests that individuals with eating disorders, including men, may be at risk for alcoholism and vice versa, that is, both men and women with alcoholism may be at risk for eating disorders. Those involved in treating individuals of both genders with alcoholism and eating disorders should be alert to the presence of both disorders in their patients.

As always, comments are invited. Jan Edward Williams, 08/22/2013.


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