Anorexic girls also have autistic traits, study finds
LONDON (REUTERS) - Scientists studying girls with the eating disorder anorexia have found they show a mild echo of the characteristics of autism - a finding which could point to new ways of helping anorexics overcome their illness.
A study by the leading autism expert Simon Baron-Cohen at Cambridge University's Autism Research Centre found that compared to typical girls, those with anorexia have an above-average number of autistic traits.
They were also found to have an above-average interest in systems and order, and below-average scores in empathy - a profile similar, but less pronounced, to that seen in people with autism, suggesting the two disorders may have common underlying features, Mr Baron-Cohen said.
"Traditionally, anorexia has been viewed purely as an eating disorder. This is quite reasonable, since the girls' dangerously low weight and their risk of malnutrition or even death has to be the highest priority," he said.