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Anorexic Women Show Autistic Traits

Update Date: Feb 08, 2017 07:49 AM EST

Anorexic women have autistic traits, according to a study. Even when the eating disorder is under control and the normal weight is achieved, the traits linger on. Experts believe that the result gives light on how anorexia should be treated.

Louise Karjalainen of Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, said that the similarities between anorexia and autism in women are seen in the prart of the brain which also process social skills. The researcher said that it was an interesting discovery, though they need to know more about it.

Care for anorexic women is focused on food because it is about saving the life. However, Karjalainen believes that other key factors in reducing the risk of relapse should also be looked into so that these women will be healthy at all levels. Individuals who have autism have also disturbed eating behaviour.

The researcher looked into 30 women with anorexia nervosa between the ages of 15 to 25 years old. A year after, when the women's general health began to improve, the still have negative thought patterns and behaviours around food that are characteristic of person with autism. Karjalainen said that the women exhibit the traits during meal times.

Though a traditional eating disorder is linked to fixation with food and weight, there are thoughts and behaviors of an anorexic woman that are considered typical for autism, details Karjalainen. Things that would make women regress long after the acute stage of anorexia are the unbearable smell of food, dining companion that makes mouth noises while eating or simply the idea of eating together with others.

Anorexic women functions cognitively better once their normal weight is regained, but the social aspect of meal times are still uncomfortable for them. Multi-tasking is a challenge as well. Cutting food and chewing at the same time is a challenge and is prevalent in individuals with autism.

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