If you’ve been following my work for a long time, you will have read a previous piece about Charlotte’s Helix and the AN25K study. This was written back in the ‘old days’, when I wrote a newsletter, rather than a blog. However, if you are a more recent follower, you may never have heard of this at all. Either way, this seems a valid topic to revisit.
Charlotte’s Helix is a campaign bringing the AN25K research project to the UK. This project – formally called the ‘Anorexia Nervosa Genetics Initiative’ – has the ambitious aim of collecting 25 thousand DNA samples from those with a history of the Eating Disorder Anorexia Nervosa. The goal of this is to use these samples to map the genetic coding that might make someone susceptible to developing the disorder.
The UK campaign is working towards adding at least 1000 samples to this international research.
This is potentially a ground-breaking piece of work that could help us better understand how to go about preventing and treating Anorexia Nervosa more effectively. Some also believe a cure may be found.
As the team heading up the research work behind the scenes on handling the data I fear that a little bit of momentum has been lost in the public eye – and because this is something about which I feel strongly about I really want to encourage my readers to get involved.
Involvement simply requires participants to complete a few pages of questions and then supply either a blood or saliva sample. The researchers require samples from both those with (or with a history of) Anorexia Nervosa, as well as those with no such history (to be used as the ‘healthy controls’, with whom the samples will be compared.)
I have been in touch with the team and supplied my own sample. You can express an interest in doing the same by adding your name to the list via their website. Taking part was straight forward and took me about 20minutes.
If you are selected as a participant the team at Kings College London simply send you out a questionnaire pack, and the equipment required to collect the saliva sample. It comes with a free post envelope so you can send it back at no cost to yourself. Should you have any questions the team are easy to contact by email, and in my experience are very lovely!
I’d love to know if you decide to participate – tell me in the comments.