eISSN: 2084-9885
ISSN: 1896-6764
Neuropsychiatria i Neuropsychologia/Neuropsychiatry and Neuropsychology
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vol. 8

Review article
Selected issues concerning the neurobiology of anorexia nervosa

Dorota Anita Przewoźnik

Neuropsychiatria i Neuropsychologia 2013; 8, 3–4: 118–122
Online publish date: 2014/01/30
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The purpose of this review is to illustrate the issue of new discoveries in the field of functional and anatomical changes in the brain of people suffering from anorexia. This disease destroys both the patients’ body and psyche. People struggling with anorexia nervosa are characterized by pursuit of low body weight and fear of weight gain. Increasing numbers of people, especially in Western countries, suffer from eating disorders. This trend may be explained by the influence of media on the perception of one’s own body. However, there are studies suggesting that it is not the only factor in projecting the possibility of illness. There are many theories explaining the causes of anorexia. It is generally accepted that genetic, psychological and social factors are complementary to each other and create the image of people particularly at risk of this disease. However, the development of brain imaging techniques allows one to locate the differences between brain functioning of a person with anorexia and a healthy one. The patients’ reward system works abnormally, and their brain responds differently to taste stimuli. According to new reports, the volume of white and gray matter in their brain is reduced, while the volume of cerebrospinal fluid is increased. Some of these changes are not permanent and disappear after treatment. The article is a review of new research concerning the functioning and anatomy of the brain of people with anorexia. These studies offer hope of deeper understanding of the nature of this disease and developing more effective therapies.

anorexia, dopamine, white matter, gray matter

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