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Psychiatry Res. 2015 Apr 30;232(1):84-91. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2015.01.022. Epub 2015 Feb 7.

n-back task performance and corresponding brain-activation patterns in women with restrictive and bulimic eating-disorder variants: preliminary findings.

Author information

1
Eating Disorders Program, Douglas University Institute, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; McGill University, Psychiatry Department, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Research Centre, Douglas University Institute, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Electronic address: mimi.israel@douglas.mcgill.ca.
2
McGill University, Department of Psychology, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Montreal Neurological Institute, Cognitive Neuroscience Unit, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
3
McGill University, Psychiatry Department, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Research Centre, Douglas University Institute, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
4
Eating Disorders Program, Douglas University Institute, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; McGill University, Psychiatry Department, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Research Centre, Douglas University Institute, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
5
Eating Disorders Program, Douglas University Institute, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Research Centre, Douglas University Institute, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Abstract

Eating disorder (ED) variants characterized by "binge-eating/purging" symptoms differ from "restricting-only" variants along diverse clinical dimensions, but few studies have compared people with these different eating-disorder phenotypes on measures of neurocognitive function and brain activation. We tested the performances of 19 women with "restricting-only" eating syndromes and 27 with "binge-eating/purging" variants on a modified n-back task, and used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine task-induced brain activations in frontal regions of interest. When compared with "binge-eating/purging" participants, "restricting-only" participants showed superior performance. Furthermore, in an intermediate-demand condition, "binge-eating/purging" participants showed significantly less event-related activation than did "restricting-only" participants in a right posterior prefrontal region spanning Brodmann areas 6-8-a region that has been linked to planning of motor responses, working memory for sequential information, and management of uncertainty. Our findings suggest that working memory is poorer in eating-disordered individuals with binge-eating/purging behaviors than in those who solely restrict food intake, and that observed performance differences coincide with interpretable group-based activation differences in a frontal region thought to subserve planning and decision making.

KEYWORDS:

Anorexia; Binge eating; Bulimia; Eating disorders; Executive function; Functional neuroimaging

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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