Researchers at Cambridge University have discovered that girls suffering from Anorexia also have characteristics that mirror traits associated with Autism. This discovery will likely change the dialogue around the disorder and lead to a greater understanding of how to treat Anorexia.
According to the lead researcher Simon Baron-Cohen, people with anorexia and autism tend to engage in repetitive behaviour and have rigid interests. Researchers have also identified a strong tendency to be self-focused and detail oriented. Most tellingly perhaps is that both disorders have similar differences in the structure and function of the brain.
Any breakthrough in the understanding of the disorder is extremely important because it can lead to more effective treatments as co-leader of the study Tony Jaffa points out:
"Recognizing that some patients with Anorexia may also need help with social skills and communication, and with adapting to change, also gives us a new treatment angle."