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Does Late-onset Anorexia Nervosa Exist? Findings From a Comparative Study in Singapore

TAN, SHIAN MING, MD; KWOK, KAH FOO VICTOR, MD; ZAINAL, KELLY A.; LEE, HUEI YEN, MD

Journal of Psychiatric Practice®: March 2018 - Volume 24 - Issue 2 - p 97–103
doi: 10.1097/PRA.0000000000000296
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Objective: The incidence of cases of older onset anorexia nervosa (AN) has increased in recent years. However, the literature on late-onset AN has been inconclusive. The goal of this study was to compare late-onset with early-onset cases of AN.

Methods: Cases of AN presenting to an eating disorders treatment service were identified and the associated medical records were studied retrospectively.

Results: Of the 577 cases of AN that were studied, 7.1% were late-onset. Unlike the early-onset cases of AN, the late-onset cases reported less teasing and more relationship problems as a trigger for the illness. They were also less likely to join the eating disorders treatment program. Otherwise, the late-onset AN cases were largely similar to the early-onset cases.

Conclusions: Although differences exist between early-onset and late-onset cases of AN, these are few. Until stronger evidence emerges over time, there currently seems to be minimal justification to accord late-onset AN a unique position in psychiatric nosology.

TAN, KWOK, ZAINAL, and LEE: Singapore General Hospital, Singapore

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Please send correspondence to: Shian Ming Tan, MD, Singapore General Hospital, Outram Road, Singapore 169608 (e-mail: tan.shian.ming@singhealth.com.sg).

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