Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Connection error' in brains of anorexics

Date:
January 24, 2013
Source:
Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum
Summary:
Researchers have found altered connectivity in the brain network for body perception in people with anorexia: The weaker the connection, the greater the misjudgement of body shape.

Network for body processing: When people look at body images, the visual information first enters in the central occipital lobe (mOC). The “fusiform body area” (FBA) and the “extrastriate body area” (EBA) then process the images further. In anorexic women, the connection from the mOC to the FBA is unaffected (black arrow). However, the FBA and EBA do not work normally together in the left hemisphere (red arrow).
Credit: Copyright: Boris Suchan

Researchers have found altered connectivity in the brain network for body perception in people with anorexia: The weaker the connection, the greater the misjudgement of body shape.

When people see pictures of bodies, a whole range of brain regions are active. This network is altered in women with anorexia nervosa. In a functional magnetic resonance imaging study, two regions that are important for the processing of body images were functionally more weakly connected in anorexic women than in healthy women.

The stronger this "connection error" was, the more overweight the respondents considered themselves. "These alterations in the brain could explain why women with anorexia perceive themselves as fatter, even though they are objectively underweight" says Prof. Dr. Boris Suchan of the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at the Ruhr-Universität. Together with Prof. Dr. Dietrich Grönemeyer (University of Witten-Herdecke), Prof. Dr. Silja Vocks (University of Osnabrück) and other colleagues, the Bochum researchers report in the journal Behavioural Brain Research.

Anorexics misperceive their body shape

The researchers tested ten anorexic and fifteen healthy women of similar age. To start with, all the women judged on the computer which of several different silhouettes corresponded best to their own body shape. Ten control subjects who did not participate in the MRI scan answered the same question by matching a photo of the test subject to the right silhouette. Both healthy and anorexic women estimated their body shape differently than outsiders: healthy subjects rated themselves as thinner than the control subjects. Anorexic women on the other hand perceived themselves to be fatter than the control subjects did.

Brain areas for body perception examined with MRI

In MRI scanners, the researchers then recorded the brain activity of the 25 participants while they observed photos of bodies. Above all, they analysed the activity in the "fusiform body area" (FBA) and the "extrastriate body area" (EBA), because previous studies showed that these brain regions are critical for the perception of bodies. To this end, the neuroscientists from Bochum calculated the so-called effective connectivity between the FBA and EBA in both hemispheres. This is a measure of how much the activity in several brain areas is temporally correlated. A high degree of correlation is indicative of a strong connection.

Brains of anorexics structurally and functionally altered

The connection between the FBA and EBA was weaker in women with anorexia nervosa than in healthy women. In addition, the researchers found a negative correlation between the EBA-FBA connection in the left hemisphere and the misjudgement of body weight: the weaker the effective connectivity between the EBA and FBA was, the fatter the subjects with anorexia falsely estimated themselves to be. "In a previous study we found that there are structural changes in the brains of patients with anorexia," says Boris Suchan. They have a lower density of nerve cells in the EBA. "The new data shows that the network for body processing is also functionally altered." The EBA, which has a lower cell density in anorexics, is also the area that stood out in the connection analysis: it receives reduced input from the FBA. "These changes could provide a mechanism for the development of anorexia," says Suchan.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Boris Suchan, Denise Soria Bauser, Martin Busch, Dietmar Schulte, Dietrich Grönemeyer, Stephan Herpertz, Silja Vocks. Reduced connectivity between the left fusiform body area and the extrastriate body area in anorexia nervosa is associated with body image distortion. Behavioural Brain Research, 2013; 241: 80 DOI: 10.1016/j.bbr.2012.12.002

Cite This Page:

Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum. "'Connection error' in brains of anorexics." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130124091542.htm>.
Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum. (2013, January 24). 'Connection error' in brains of anorexics. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130124091542.htm
Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum. "'Connection error' in brains of anorexics." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130124091542.htm (accessed August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) — Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
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