Do abnormalities in regional cerebral blood flow in anorexia nervosa resolve after weight restoration?




Previous studies have demonstrated localised abnormalities of cerebral blood flow in anorexia nervosa, suggesting reduction of cerebral activity and function in specific regions. There is debate as to whether such findings are secondary to starvation or indicative of a primary abnormality predating the illness, representing an underlying biological substrate. This small study, the first in early onset anorexia nervosa, reports findings of regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) at both baseline and follow up.


Nine participants who had previously undergone rCBF studies at the start of treatment, had a repeat scan at an average of 4.2 years later.


Seven out of the nine had persisting reduced cerebral blood flow in one area of the brain, predominantly the medial temporal region.


These data suggest that in the majority of cases rCBF does not return to normal following weight restoration. The implications for future research are explored. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.