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Psychiatry Res. 2006 Dec 7;145(2-3):179-87. Epub 2006 Oct 30.

Decision-making functioning as a predictor of treatment outcome in anorexia nervosa.

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Department of Neuropsychiatric Sciences, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, School of Psychology, 20 Via Stamira d'Ancona, 20127 Milan, Italy.


The pathological eating behaviour of patients with anorexia nervosa reflects a deficit in planning real-life strategies that can be observed in an experimental setting through the Gambling Task, a tool designed to detect and measure decision-making abilities. We examined the role of Gambling Task performance as a predictor of treatment outcome in anorectic patients, and we evaluated changes in decision-making after clinical improvement. Performance on the Gambling Task was evaluated, and a clinical-nutritional assessment of 38 anorectic patients was carried out before and after a cognitive-behavioural and drug treatment program. Task performance of anorectic patients was compared with that of 30 healthy control participants. Patients who had a better decision-making profile at baseline showed significantly greater improvement in nutritional status. The decision-making deficiency of some anorectic patients is probably linked to those individual features that contribute to the phenomenological expression of the disorder and to its different treatment outcomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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