Anorexia Linked to Brain Size

By  , everydayHealth
Aug 29, 2013

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  • 19 teen girls with anorexia and 22 teen girls without the disorder were examined.
  • Those who had anorexia had larger insula and orbitofrontal cortex.
  • Researchers suggest that the areas that control sense of fullness and perception of body size are unusually large.

Anorexia linked to brain sizeA study finds that teens with anorexia nervosa have bigger brains than those without the eating disorder. Anorexia causes people to lose more weight than is considered healthy.

Researchers from the University of Colorado School of Medicine examined 19 teen girls with anorexia and 22 teen girls without the disorder. They underwent MRI brain scans. The girls with anorexia had a larger insula, a part of the brain that is active when you taste food. Moreover, they had larger orbitofrontal cortex, the part of the brain that tells you when to stop eating.

According to Dr. Guido Frank, an assistant professor of psychiatry and neuroscience, 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.

The findings were published recently in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

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