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Neurosci Lett. 2002 Jun 21;326(1):25-8.

Body image distortion reveals amygdala activation in patients with anorexia nervosa -- a functional magnetic resonance imaging study.

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Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Central Institute of Mental Health, P.O. Box 12 21 20, 68072 Mannheim, Germany.


In anorexia nervosa patients, body image distortion is a core and often persistent symptom, which continues to pose a risk for relapse even after weight recovery. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in combination with a computer-based life image distortion technique, we stimulated female anorectic patients and healthy controls with digital pictures of their own body image, individually distorted by themselves. In anorectic patients, stimulation with their own body image was associated with activation in the right amygdala, the right gyrus fusiformis and the brainstem region. Our preliminary findings indicate an activation of the brain's 'fear network' and underscore the need for examination of body image distortions in anorectic patients with a fMRI design to further evaluate the course of this disturbance in a longitudinal approach.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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