Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brain size may signal risk of developing an eating disorder

Date:
August 22, 2013
Source:
University of Colorado Denver
Summary:
New research indicates that teens with anorexia nervosa have bigger brains than teens that do not have the eating disorder. That is according to a study that examined a group of adolescents with anorexia nervosa and a group without.

New research indicates that teens with anorexia nervosa have bigger brains than teens that do not have the eating disorder. That is according to a study by researchers at the University of Colorado's School of Medicine that examined a group of adolescents with anorexia nervosa and a group without. They found that girls with anorexia nervosa had a larger insula, a part of the brain that is active when we taste food, and a larger orbitofrontal cortex, a part of the brain that tells a person when to stop eating.

Guido Frank, MD, assistant professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at CU School of Medicine, and his colleagues report that the bigger brain may be the reason people with anorexia are able to starve themselves. Similar results in children with anorexia nervosa and in adults who had recovered from the disease, raise the possibility that insula and orbitofrontal cortex brain size could predispose a person to develop eating disorders.

"While eating disorders are often triggered by the environment, there are most likely biological mechanisms that have to come together for an individual to develop an eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa," Frank says.

The researchers recruited 19 adolescent girls with anorexia nervosa and 22 in a control group and used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study brain volumes. Individuals with anorexia nervosa showed greater left orbitofrontal, right insular, and bilateral temporal cortex gray matter compared to the control group. In individuals with anorexia nervosa, orbitofrontal gray matter volume related negatively with sweet tastes. An additional comparison of this study group with adults with anorexia nervosa and a healthy control group supported greater orbitofrontal cortex and insula volumes in the disorder across this age group as well.

The medial orbitofrontal cortex has been associated with signaling when we feel satiated by a certain type of food (so called "sensory specific satiety"). This study suggests that larger volume in this brain area could be a trait across eating disorders that promotes these individuals to stop eating faster than in healthy individuals, before eating enough.

The right insula is a region that processes taste, as well as integrates body perception and this could contribute to the perception of being fat despite being underweight.

This study is complementary to another that found adults with anorexia and individuals who had recovered from this illness also had differences in brain size, previously published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, 2013.

This study was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, July 22, 2013.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Colorado Denver. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Tiffany C. Ho, Jing Wu, David D. Shin, Thomas T. Liu, Susan F. Tapert, Guang Yang, Colm G. Connolly, Guido K.W. Frank, Jeffrey E. Max, Owen Wolkowitz, Stuart Eisendrath, Fumiko Hoeft, Dipavo Banerjee, Korey Hood, Robert L. Hendren, Martin P. Paulus, Alan N. Simmons, Tony T. Yang. Altered Cerebral Perfusion in Executive, Affective, and Motor Networks During Adolescent Depression. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2013.07.008

Cite This Page:

University of Colorado Denver. "Brain size may signal risk of developing an eating disorder." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130822091108.htm>.
University of Colorado Denver. (2013, August 22). Brain size may signal risk of developing an eating disorder. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130822091108.htm
University of Colorado Denver. "Brain size may signal risk of developing an eating disorder." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130822091108.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) 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