Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Distorted Body Image Could Be Linked To Abnormal Brain Function

Date:
July 6, 2007
Source:
University of California, San Diego
Summary:
Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), or dysmorphophobia, is a hidden disease that affects nearly three million Americans. It is hidden because patients with the disease often go to great lengths to hide from the world, often altering their appearance through plastic surgeries, wrongly perceiving themselves to be ugly or having a hideous physical flaw.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), or dysmorphophobia, is a hidden disease that affects nearly three million Americans. It is hidden because patients with the disease often go to great lengths to hide from the world, often altering their appearance through plastic surgeries, wrongly perceiving themselves to be ugly or having a hideous physical flaw.

Sanjaya Saxena, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine, is leading a study to identify abnormalities in brain structure and activity that are associated with BDD, and determine how these abnormalities change with treatment. The only current study of its kind in the world, this National Institute of Mental Health-sponsored project is utilizing positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to find out more about how the brain functions in individuals with BDD.

“Patients with body dysmorphic disorder are preoccupied with some perceived flaw,” said Saxena. “Some exhibit severe avoidance, for example, they will only go out of their homes when it’s dark, or camouflage themselves in public.”

Saxena adds that the disorder is very different from vanity or narcissism. “Patients with BDD truly fear or even believe that they are ugly, and the condition is associated with shame and a high rate of depression and suicide,” he said. The disorder is found about equally often in men as in women. Some males suffer from a particular version known as muscle dysmorphia, characterized by extreme body workouts and use of steroids in men who wrongly view themselves as being weak and out of shape.

“Some patients make repeated visits to plastic surgeons and dermatologists for procedures but are never satisfied,” said Saxena, adding that about half of all BDD patients are delusional, while the others objectively know that they are okay, yet are unable to stop the compulsion to cover up or “fix” their flaws.

Psychiatric treatment for such patients is difficult, Saxena adds, but with therapy and/or medication such as serotonin uptake inhibitors (SRIs), even those who are delusional can recover.

The UCSD study includes PET and MRI scans to measure brain function and structure, along with neuropsychological testing of memory, learning, attention, decision-making and visual-spatial skills. Subjects accepted in the study will also receive 12 weeks of investigational study drug at no cost.

The study will also study patients with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Compulsive Hoarding. Saxena believes that BDD may be genetically linked to other obsessive-compulsive disorders, which he has shown in past studies to be linked to physiological changes in specific areas of the brain. In addition to the PET and MRI studies, Saxena also hopes to find out if BDD, OCD and compulsive hoarding respond similarly to treatment with venlafaxine (Effexor) a drug commonly used to treat depression and anxiety disorders.

Those interested in finding out more about the research study should contact the UCSD Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders Program at 858-534-8056.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California, San Diego. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California, San Diego. "Distorted Body Image Could Be Linked To Abnormal Brain Function." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 July 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070705123734.htm>.
University of California, San Diego. (2007, July 6). Distorted Body Image Could Be Linked To Abnormal Brain Function. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070705123734.htm
University of California, San Diego. "Distorted Body Image Could Be Linked To Abnormal Brain Function." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070705123734.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) Yale researchers tested 135 men and women, and it was only obese women who were deemed to have "impaired associative learning." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Does Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks Boost Urge To Drink?

Does Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks Boost Urge To Drink?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) A new study suggests that mixing alcohol with energy drinks makes you want to keep the party going. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pot Cooking Class Teaches Responsible Eating

Pot Cooking Class Teaches Responsible Eating

AP (July 18, 2014) Following the nationwide trend of eased restrictions on marijuana use, pot edibles are growing in popularity. One Boston-area cooking class is teaching people how to eat pot responsibly. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Understanding D.C.'s New Pot Laws

Understanding D.C.'s New Pot Laws

Newsy (July 17, 2014) Washington D.C.'s new laws decriminalizing small amount of marijuana went into effect Thursday. Here's how they work. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins