JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Regional grey matter volume abnormalities in bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder.

NeuroImage 2010 April 2
This study investigated whether bulimia nervosa (BN) and binge-eating disorder (BED) are associated with structural brain abnormalities. Both disorders share the main symptom binge-eating, but are considered differential diagnoses. We attempted to identify alterations in grey matter volume (GMV) that are present in both psychopathologies as well as disorder-specific GMV characteristics. Such information can help to improve neurobiological models of eating disorders and their classification. A total of 50 participants (patients suffering from BN (purge type), BED, and normal-weight controls) underwent structural MRI scanning. GMV for specific brain regions involved in food/reinforcement processing was analyzed by means of voxel-based morphometry. Both patient groups were characterized by greater volumes of the medial orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) compared to healthy controls. In BN patients, who had increased ventral striatum volumes, body mass index and purging severity were correlated with striatal grey matter volume. Altogether, our data implicate a crucial role of the medial OFC in the studied eating disorders. The structural abnormality might be associated with dysfunctions in food reward processing and/or self-regulation. The bulimia-specific volume enlargement of the ventral striatum is discussed in the framework of negative reinforcement through purging and associated weight regulation.

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