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J Clin Exp Neuropsychol. 1998 Aug;20(4):548-64.

Neuropsychological consequences of extreme weight loss and dietary restriction in patients with anorexia nervosa.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Adelaide, South Australia.


This study examined the effects of weight loss and nutritional status on the cognitive performance of patients with anorexia nervosa. The intellectual, memory, attentional, verbal fluency and visuospatial abilities of 34 females with anorexia were compared to that of 31 normal weight-for-height females. Group differences in anxiety and depression were found but neither variable was related to the cognitive performance of patients with anorexia. Moreover, nutritional status and weight loss bore little relationship to the cognitive scores of the patient group. Overall, patients with anorexia were found to be deficient in their ability to recall meaningful prose and visuospatial information. The failure to find many cognitive deficits in this sample may reflect the fact that few patients with anorexia exhibited frank nutritional deficiencies.

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