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Neuropsychopharmacology. 2013 May;38(6):1130-9. doi: 10.1038/npp.2013.18. Epub 2013 Jan 15.

Abnormal brain network organization in body dysmorphic disorder.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Illinois, Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.


Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is characterized by preoccupation with misperceived defects of appearance, causing significant distress and disability. Previous studies suggest abnormalities in information processing characterized by greater local relative to global processing. The purpose of this study was to probe whole-brain and regional white matter network organization in BDD, and to relate this to specific metrics of symptomatology. We acquired diffusion-weighted 34-direction MR images from 14 unmedicated participants with DSM-IV BDD and 16 healthy controls, from which we conducted whole-brain deterministic diffusion tensor imaging tractography. We then constructed white matter structural connectivity matrices to derive whole-brain and regional graph theory metrics, which we compared between groups. Within the BDD group, we additionally correlated these metrics with scores on psychometric measures of BDD symptom severity as well as poor insight/delusionality. The BDD group showed higher whole-brain mean clustering coefficient than controls. Global efficiency negatively correlated with BDD symptom severity. The BDD group demonstrated greater edge betweenness centrality for connections between the anterior temporal lobe and the occipital cortex, and between bilateral occipital poles. This represents the first brain network analysis in BDD. Results suggest disturbances in whole brain structural topological organization in BDD, in addition to correlations between clinical symptoms and network organization. There is also evidence of abnormal connectivity between regions involved in lower-order visual processing and higher-order visual and emotional processing, as well as interhemispheric visual information transfer. These findings may relate to disturbances in information processing found in previous studies.

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