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J Pediatr. 1996 Feb;128(2):296-301.

Reversibility of cerebral ventricular enlargement in anorexia nervosa, demonstrated by quantitative magnetic resonance imaging.

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Department of Pediatrics, Schneider Children's Hospital, Long Island Jewish Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New Hyde Park, New York 11042, USA.



To determine the reversibility of the loss of brain parenchyma and ventricular enlargement in patients with anorexia nervosa after refeeding.


Quantitative magnetic resonance imaging was performed on three groups of subjects: (1) 12 female adolescents hospitalized with anorexia nervosa, (2) the same 12 patients after nutritional rehabilitation, a mean of 11.1 months later, and (3) 12 healthy age-matched control subjects. Sixty-four contiguous coronal magnetic resonance images, 3.1 mm thick, were obtained. With a computerized morphometry system, lateral and third ventricular volumes were measured by a single observer unaware of the status of the patient.


On admission, patients were malnourished and had lost an average of 11.7 kg (body mass index, 14.3 +/- 2.0 kg/m2). After refeeding, they gained an average of 9.7 kg (body mass index, 17.9 +/- 1.5 kg/m2). Total ventricular volume decreased from 17.1 +/- 5.5 cm3 on admission to 12.4 +/- 3.0 cm3 after refeeding (p < 0.01) and returned to the normal range. The degree of enlargement of the third ventricle was greater than that of the lateral ventricles. There was a significant inverse relationship between body mass index and total ventricular volume (r = -0.63; p < 0.05).


In patients with anorexia nervosa, cerebral ventricular enlargement correlates with the degree of malnutrition and is reversible with weight gain during long-term follow-up.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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