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Do you obsess over your appearance? Your brain might be wired abnormally
Date:4/29/2013

d with BDD and 16 healthy controls. The goal of the study was to map the brain's connections to examine how the white-matter networks are organized. White matter is made up of nerve cells that carry impulses from one part of the brain to another.

To do this, they used a sensitive form of brain imaging called diffusion tensor imaging, or DTI. DTI is a variant of magnetic resonance imaging that can measure the structural integrity of the brain's white matter. From these scans, they were able to create whole brain "maps" of reconstructed white-matter tracks. Next, they used a form of advanced analysis called graph theory to characterize the patterns of connections throughout the brains of people with BDD and then compared them with those of healthy controls.

The researchers found people with BDD had a pattern of abnormally high network "clustering" across the entire brain. This suggests that these individuals may have imbalances in how they process "local" or detailed information. The researchers also discovered specific abnormal connections between areas involved in processing visual input and those involved in recognizing emotions.

"How their brain regions are connected in order to communicate about what they see and how they feel is disturbed," said Feusner, who also directs the Adult Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Program and the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Research Program at UCLA.

"Their brains seem to be fine-tuned to be very sensitive to process minute details, but this pattern may not allow their brains to be well-synchronized across regions with different functions," he said. "This could affect how they perceive their physical appearance and may also result in them getting caught up in the details of other thoughts and cognitive processes."

The study, Feusner noted, advances the understanding of BDD by providing evidence that the "hard wiring" of patients' brain networks is abnormal.

"These abnorma
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Contact: Mark Wheeler
mwheeler@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2265
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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