A new study suggests that girls suffering from anorexia display similar personality traits to those with autism, such as lack of empathy, high focus on detail, and rigid behavior. In some instances, girls with anorexia scored five times higher in autistic qualities than non-anorexic girls on the Autism Spectrum Quotient.
Simon Baron-Cohen [Is this person related to Sacha Baron-Cohen? Just wondering. -- Amelia], who led the study at Cambridge University, said:
“This new research is suggesting that underlying the surface behavior, the mind of a person with anorexia may share a lot with the mind of a person with autism. In both conditions, there is a strong interest in systems. In girls with anorexia, they have latched onto a system that concerns body weight, shape, and food intake.”
This new information could lead to alternative ways to look at and ultimately treat girls suffering from the eating disorder; the knowledge that anorexic brains may be wiredly differently is a great help. Formerly, the two disorders have been looked at separately, with scientists focusing on the eating and lack of nutrition involved in anorexic girls, without checking for autism. There’s much to be optimistic about with this study’s new discovery.
[Image of girl looking at food courtesy of Shutterstock]