Understanding the Association between Eating Disorders and Autoimmune/Autoinflammatory
LewisFirst, MD, MA, Editor in Chief, Pediatrics
Eating disorders are common in teens and young adults. Have you ever considered whether
autoimmune or autoinflammatory diseases are associated with eating disorders? Zerwas
et al. (10.1542/peds.2016-2089) present the results of their findings from a national population-based cohort study
from Denmark of children born between 1989 and 2006 followed to 2012. More than 930,000
children and teens were in this longitudinal cohort. Perhaps to everyone’s surprise
including the authors’, there was an association between autoimmune/autoinflammatory
diseases and eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia.
Just how does an autoimmune or autoinflammatory disease trigger an uptick in eating
disorders? We asked behavioral and developmental specialists Drs. Rebecca Hommer
and Susan Swedo from the National Institute of Mental Health to share their thoughts
in an accompanying commentary (10.1542/peds.2017-3060). Their perspective makes us think of bidirectional and even multigenerational mechanisms
for this association. Both the article and commentary are informative and thoughtful
so check both out via the links provided above.