Navigation Links
Why anorexic patients cling to their eating disorder
Date:8/3/2009

Anorexic patients drastically reduce food intake and are often not capable of changing their behavior. This can lead to life-threatening weight loss. Using MRI technology, scientists at Heidelberg University Hospital have discovered for the first time processes in brain metabolism that explain this disturbed eating behavior.

The research work of the Department of Psychosomatic and General Internal Medicine at Heidelberg University Hospital (Medical Director: Professor Dr. Wolfgang Herzog) arose in cooperation with the Heidelberg University Hospitals of General Psychiatry and Neurology. The results of the study were published in the prestigious American Journal of Psychiatry in June 2009.

Changes in brain activation associated with rigid behavior

Many young girls and women go on diets to achieve their ideal figure. Less than one percent of the population is affected by life-threatening anorexia. Despite intensive treatment, the course of the disorder is severe and chronic in 20 to 30 percent of the cases and about 10 percent of the patients die of the disease.

The Heidelberg researchers examined a total of 30 young women with and without anorexia by means of functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The MRI device recorded the level of blood flow in various areas of the brain. Greater blood flow indicates higher metabolism and thus greater activity in this area of the brain.

The participants underwent a test that measured their capacity for flexible behavior modification of recently learned behavior. In this test, the subjects were shown a rapid sequence of various geometric shapes and asked to match them. After one test run, the matching principle was changed.

"In this study, we confirmed that anorexic patients cling to familiar behavioral responses more frequently than healthy subjects, thus suppressing alternative behavior," explained Dr. Hans-Christoph Friederich, head of the working group for eating disorders. The analysis of the MRI images also showed that in patients with anorexia compared with healthy subjects, a certain network pathway between the cortex and the diencephalon is less activated. This network pathway plays a decisive role in initiating and controlling actions under rapidly changing environmental demands.

New therapy approaches through brain research

The results of the study contribute decisively to a better understanding of anorexia. In particular, they make it clear that neurobiological factors are involved and sustain the clinical symptoms. Since psychological and neurobiological factors can influence each other, this may lead to new therapy approaches for anorexia.

"We have developed a treatment program for anorexia patients that specifically targets the flexible modification of behavioral responses," says Dr. Friederich. In this way, the researchers hope to improve the success of psychotherapeutic treatment. The MRI examination of the brain could contribute to measure the success of treatment.


'/>"/>

Contact: Hans-Christoph Friederich
hans-christoph_friederich@med.uni-heidelberg.de
University Hospital Heidelberg
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Brain patterns of former anorexics reveal clues to disorders lasting impact
2. New Scan Spots Beginning of Bone Problems in Anorexics
3. Milkshakes are medicine for anorexic teens in family-based outpatient therapy
4. Fluctuating eye pressure associated with visual field deterioration in glaucoma patients
5. Comparison of obstetric outcomes between on-call and patients own obstetricians
6. Vision restoration therapy shown to improve brain activity in brain injured patients
7. Diabetes appears to increase risk of death for patients with acute coronary syndromes
8. Ambulatory oxygen rarely a benefit in COPD patients without resting hypoxemia
9. Restricting Blood Flow May Help Heart Bypass Patients
10. Patients with Medicaid and those lacking insurance have higher risk of advanced laryngeal cancer
11. Study provides hope that some transplant patients could live free of antirejection drugs
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/12/2016)... ... February 12, 2016 , ... Coco Libre, the maker of coconut water ... LA GRAMMY’s Style Lounge Event. Coco Libre will offer musicians and celebrities the company’s ... big event. The invitation-only gifting suite, held this year at the W Hollywood Hotel, ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... ... February 12, 2016 , ... Fisher House Foundation Chairman and ... J. Lee, Nevada Military Support Alliance president Scott Bensing, and Peggy Kearns Director, VA ... Southern Nevada Healthcare System. This will be the first Fisher House in Nevada, ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... ... February 12, 2016 , ... ... Pittsburgh metro area, celebrates the beginning of the latest charity campaign in their ... skills through art. Donations to this worthy cause are currently being accepted at: ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... ... February 12, 2016 , ... ... Care.” , The print component of “Revolutionizing Cancer Care” is distributed ... York, Washington DC/Baltimore, and Seattle, with a circulation of approximately 250,000 copies and ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... Highlands Ranch, Colo. (PRWEB) , ... February 12, 2016 , ... ... particularly over the past 35 years. A president has access to health and wellness ... leader of the free world, no single individual has a schedule as frenetic as ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/12/2016)... Feb. 12, 2016  Sequent Medical, Inc. announced today ... to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the WEB™ ... ruptured intracranial aneurysms.  Prof Laurent Spelle , MD, ... Paris, France and Principal Investigator of ... France and Germany.  Although patients with ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... , Feb. 12, 2016  Aralez Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: ... announced the Company will ring the Nasdaq Closing Bell ... New York at 4:00 p.m. ET on ... Aralez. Adrian Adams , will perform ... 3:50 to 4:00 p.m. ET.  A live webcast will ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... February 12, 2016 ... auf den ungedeckten medizinischen Bedarf bei Lungen- ... seines klinischen Forschungsprogramms bekannt. Das Programm, das ... Verbesserungen ihrer respiratorischen Funktionen und anderer klinischer ... ein Medizintechnikunternehmen, das sich auf den ungedeckten ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: