Brain Pathways Function Differently in Women with Anorexia

Women with anorexia nervosa perceive themselves differently than those without, according to a recent study on brain pathways by researchers at the Center for BrainHealth at UT Dallas and UT Southwestern, published in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.

Participants in the study were asked to evaluate three types of assessments: those based on oneself, one’s friend, and “reflected” (what one’s friend believes about the individual).

Anorexia patients showed different brain activation than their counterparts, according to the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) results.

Dan Krawczyk of the Center for BrainHealth at UT Dallas and UT Southwestern conducted the study along with Dr. Carrie McAdams of UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Krawczyk said the findings validate the idea that anorexia is about how individuals see themselves and link it to social perception.

The fMRI results reflected differences in self-knowledge and perspective-taking, meaning that the brain’s precuneus is linked to self-consciousness and reflective self-awareness, or judging one’s own personality versus judging others.