Anorexics have less gray matter

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Anorexics have less gray matter

MRI shows reduced density in two regions of the brain

Women with anorexia have a significantly reduced density gray cells in certain areas of the brain that have to do with the processing of body images. This is the result of new studies of affected and healthy women in MRI scanners, which have now performed Bochum researchers.

Anorexics have less gray matter

Research landscape brain

© Hemera

The abnormalities in the brain could explain the impaired perception of one's body in women with eating disorders: patients accept themselves as thick true, even though they are objectively underweight - a perpetuating factor for eating disorder, the researchers said in the journal "Behavioural Brain Research."

Eating disorders estimate is thicker a - Healthy slimmer

The researchers led by Dr. Boris Suchan of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) examined 15 anorexic and 15 healthy women of a similar age for their study. The subjects completed a first task on the computer, where they had their own figure assign one of several different slim silhouette, from which they assumed that they came of their own figure next.

In addition, the same task every ten independent female subjects were asked who should assign the photos of the trial participants in the matching silhouette.

Distorted self-perception of anorexics

The results of this experiment show according to the researchers falsified the self-perception of patients with anorexia (anorexia nervosa): While the healthy control subjects tended to lean einschätzten when they were valued by the independent evaluators, the patients korpulenteren silhouettes arranged to.

Then the study followed in MRI scanners. Here, the researchers detected high resolution pictures of the brains of the participants. These were then in different analysis steps in the areas of gray matter, white matter, and cerebrospinal fluid - divided and studied in connection to differences in the density of gray matter - brain fluid.

Massive changes in two areas of the brain

Since the patients through their illness a lower body weight and lower body mass index than the control persons, the entire volume of the brain was also reduced. In two regions of the brain, however, fell on particularly strong reductions in gray matter: The region was a few years ago identified as the one responsible for the visual processing of human bodies is a priority (Extrastriate Body Area).

The second region of reduced density of gray matter was in the upper rear part of the temporal lobe. Also, this region of the brain is associated with the processing of body images. "These results indicate that we have seen in this study for the first time, could be an explanation for the disturbed body image of anorexia patients," says Suchan.

Many open questions

Some questions still remain to be answered: "Whether it is in the abnormalities of the brain to a predisposition that favors the development of an eating disorder, or to changes that only occur by the disease, further studies have to show," says Suchan.

(Idw - Ruhr-Universität Bochum, 06.01.2010 - DLO)

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Brain neurons brain cells anorexia eating disorders MRI disease Medicine Anorexia Nervosa

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