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Women with anorexia show autistic traits: Study

Anorexic woman display clear autistic traits, even once the eating disorder is under control and they have achieved a normal weight, says a new study that sheds new light on how they should be treated. The similarities between anorexia and autism in women are also seen in a part of the brain which process social skills, said the study. “We need to know more in order to understand how this is all linked, but nevertheless it is a highly interesting discovery,” said researcher Louise Karjalainen from Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

“It’s obvious that anorexia care must be food-focused; this is primarily about saving lives, but there are also other key factors in reducing the risk of relapse and to get people healthy at all levels,” she said in a university statement. It has long been known that individuals with autism have disturbed eating behaviour. However, it has been unclear whether typical autistic behaviour surrounding food also exists in those with anorexia nervosa.