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Neuroimage. 2010 Apr 15;50(3):1333-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2009.12.095. Epub 2010 Jan 4.

Neural processing of negative word stimuli concerning body image in patients with eating disorders: an fMRI study.

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  • 1Hiroshima University Health Service Center, Hiroshima, Japan.

Abstract

Eating disorders (EDs) are associated with abnormalities of body image perception. The aim of the present study was to investigate the functional abnormalities in brain systems during processing of negative words concerning body images in patients with EDs. Brain responses to negative words concerning body images (task condition) and neutral words (control condition) were measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging in 36 patients with EDs (12 with the restricting type anorexia nervosa; AN-R, 12 with the binging-purging type anorexia nervosa; AN-BP, and 12 with bulimia nervosa; BN) and 12 healthy young women. Participants were instructed to select the most negative word from each negative body-image word set and to select the most neutral word from each neutral word set. In the task relative to the control condition, the right amygdala was activated both in patients with AN-R and in patients with AN-BP. The left medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) was activated both in patients with BN and in patients with AN-BP. It is suggested that these brain activations may be associated with abnormalities of body image perception. Amygdala activation may be involved in fearful emotional processing of negative words concerning body image and strong fears of gaining weight. One possible interpretation of the finding of mPFC activation is that it may reflect an attempt to regulate the emotion invoked by the stimuli. These abnormal brain functions may help provide better accounts of the psychopathological mechanisms underlying EDs.

Copyright 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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