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Anatomical Characteristics of the Cerebral Surface in Bulimia Nervosa

  • Rachel Marsh
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to Rachel Marsh, Ph.D., Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute, 1051 Riverside Drive, Unit 74, New York, NY 10032
    Affiliations
    Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, the New York State Psychiatric Institute and the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York

    Eating Disorders Research Unit, Department of Psychiatry, the New York State Psychiatric Institute and the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York
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  • Mihaela Stefan
    Affiliations
    Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, the New York State Psychiatric Institute and the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York
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  • Ravi Bansal
    Affiliations
    Center for Developmental Neuropsychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, the New York State Psychiatric Institute and the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York
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  • Xuejun Hao
    Affiliations
    Center for Developmental Neuropsychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, the New York State Psychiatric Institute and the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York
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  • B. Timothy Walsh
    Affiliations
    Eating Disorders Research Unit, Department of Psychiatry, the New York State Psychiatric Institute and the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York
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  • Bradley S. Peterson
    Affiliations
    Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, the New York State Psychiatric Institute and the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York

    Center for Developmental Neuropsychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, the New York State Psychiatric Institute and the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York
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      Abstract

      Background

      The aim of this study was to examine morphometric features of the cerebral surface in adolescent and adult female subjects with bulimia nervosa (BN).

      Methods

      Anatomical magnetic resonance images were acquired from 34 adolescent and adult female subjects with BN and 34 healthy age-matched control subjects. We compared the groups in the morphological characteristics of their cerebral surfaces while controlling for age and illness duration.

      Results

      Significant reductions of local volumes on the brain surface were detected in frontal and temporoparietal areas in the BN compared with control participants. Reductions in inferior frontal regions correlated inversely with symptom severity, age, and Stroop interference scores in the BN group.

      Conclusions

      These findings suggest that local volumes of inferior frontal regions are smaller in individuals with BN compared with healthy individuals. These reductions along the cerebral surface might contribute to functional deficits in self-regulation and to the persistence of these deficits over development in BN.

      Keywords

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      Linked Article

      • What Causes Eating Disorders, and What Do They Cause?
        Biological PsychiatryVol. 77Issue 7
        • Preview
          The eating disorders (EDs) anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN) are severe psychiatric disorders that typically occur during adolescence and young adulthood and are associated with high mortality (1). Individuals with AN are severely underweight, and individuals with BN are normal weight to overweight and regularly binge and purge. Symptoms such as food restriction, episodic binge eating, purging, excessive exercise, and shape and weight preoccupations often overlap, and common biological mechanisms may be present (2).
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