Queensland scientists are researching the link between anorexia nervosa and a person’s genetics.

Twelve hundred Australian sufferers of the disease will be asked to help with the study.

Georgia Eather reports.


The international study will cover anexoria sufferers – and former sufferers – from Australia, America, Sweden and Denmark.

Volunteers will be asked to fill out an online questionnaire and donate a small blood sample.

Professor Nick Martin will be leading the research in Australia.

Nick Martin, Professor: “We do know that there’s quite a strong genetic influence almost sixty per cent of the risk.”

“We now have new techniques in molecular biology which make it a realistic prospect to find the genes that are causing this risk of anorexia.”

Fellow researcher Professor Cynthia Bulik is from the University of North Carolina.

She also says photoshop, fashion and the size zero model are among the reasons why genetically prediposed people suffer from anorexia.

Cynthia Bulik, Professor: “Genes load the gun, environment pulls the trigger.”

The study being conducted here at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research gives hope to the twenty five thousand Australians who are suffering from anorexia nervosa, including survivor, June Alexander.

June developed the illness when she was eleven, and battled it for more than forty years.

June Alexander, survivor and advocate: “I am just so happy now that we have this research for generations to come.”

Results from the study will hopefully be known in two to three years.

Georgia Eather, QUT News.