New study: Etiological overlap between obsessive-compulsive disorder and anorexia nervosa

A study using Swedish register and twin data just came out in World Psychiatry (click link of the reference bwlow for full text).

The study aimed to examine patterns of comorbidity, longitudinal risks, shared familial risks and shared genetic factors between OCD and Anorexia Nervosa (AN) at the population level. Participants were individuals with a diagnosis of OCD (N=19,814) or AN (N=8,462) in the Swedish National Patient Register ; their first-, second- and third-degree relatives; and population-matched (1:10 ratio) controls and their relatives. Female twins from the population-based Swedish Twin Register (N=8,550) were also included. Females with OCD had a 16-fold increased risk of having a comorbid diagnosis of AN, whereas males with OCD had a 37-fold increased risk. Longitudinal analyses showed that individuals first diagnosed with OCD had an increased risk for a later diagnosis of AN (risk ratio, RR=3.6), whereas individuals first diagnosed with AN had an even greater risk for a later diagnosis of OCD (RR=9.6). These longitudinal risks were about twice as high for males than for females. First- and second-degree relatives of probands with OCD had an increased risk for AN, and the magnitude of this risk tended to increase with the degree of genetic relatedness. Bivariate twin models revealed a moderate but significant degree of genetic overlap between self-reported OCD and AN diagnoses (ra =0.52, 95% CI: 0.26-0.81), but most of the genetic variance was disorder-specific. The moderately high genetic correlation supports the idea that this frequently observed comorbid pattern is at least in part due to shared genetic factors, though disorder-specific factors are more important.

Cederlöf, M., Thornton, L. M., Baker, J., Lichtenstein, P., Larsson, H., Rück, C., Bulik, C. M. and Mataix-Cols, D. (2015), Etiological overlap between obsessive-compulsive disorder and anorexia nervosa: a longitudinal cohort, multigenerational family and twin study. World Psychiatry, 14: 333–338. doi: 10.1002/wps.20251