Familiality and Heritability of Binge Eating Disorder: Results of a Case-Control Family Study and a Twin Study

Provided by International Journal of Eating Disorders

About the Course:

Abstract
Objective:
To estimate the familiality and heritability of binge eating disorder (BED).
Method:
We used a new ACE structural equation model to estimate heritability from a case-control family study of BED conducted in the Boston area. The sample consisted of 150 overweight/obese probands with lifetime BED by DSM-IV criteria, 150 overweight/obese probands without lifetime BED, and 888 of their first-degree relatives. We compared our findings with those from a study of binge eating (in the absence of compensatory behaviors) among 7,831 Norwegian twins.
Results:
The prevalence of BED differed by sex and by age. In the case-control family study, BED was found to aggregate in families, and heritability was estimated as 57% (CI: 30-77%). Including shared environment did not substantially improve the model’s fit, nor did allowing sex-specific heritability. Findings from the twin study were similar.
Conclusion:
BED appears to aggregate in families and have a significant genetic component.

Journal/Publisher:

International Journal of Eating Disorders/Wiley InterScience

Publication Date:

March 2008, Volume 41, Issue 2

Authors

Kristin N. Javaras, PhD; Nan M. Laird, PhD; Ted Reichborn-Kjennerud, MD; Cynthia M. Bulik, PhD; Harrison G. Pope Jr, MD; James I. Hudson, MD, ScD

About the Authors:

Department of Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts and Biological Psychiatry Laboratory, McLean Hospital, Belmont, Massachusetts

Department of Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts

Division of Mental Health, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway
and Institute of Psychiatry, University of Oslo, Norway

Department of Psychiatry, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina
and Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Biological Psychiatry Laboratory, McLean Hospital, Belmont, Massachusetts
and Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts

Biological Psychiatry Laboratory, McLean Hospital, Belmont, Massachusetts
and Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts

Recommended For:

This course is recommended for health care professionals, especially psychologists, counselors, social workers, addiction counselors, officers of the court, and nurses who seek knowledge about suicidal behavior in adolescents. It is appropriate for all levels of participants’ knowledge.

Course Objectives:

  1. Explain that ACE models partition the variance of a trait into three sources: additive genetic effects (A), shared or common environment effects ©, and unique environment effects (E).

  2. Recognize that ACE models, although most commonly used with twin data, can also be used with more general family data.

  3. State whether binge eating disorder is heritable.

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