3 years ago

Reduced Inferior and Orbital Frontal Thickness in Adolescent Bulimia Nervosa Persists Over Two-Year Follow-Up

Cross-sectional data suggest functional and anatomical disturbances in inferior and orbital frontal regions in bulimia nervosa (BN). Using longitudinal data, we investigated whether reduced cortical thickness (CT) in these regions arises early and persists over adolescence in BN, independent of symptom remission, and whether CT reductions are markers of BN symptoms. Method Thirty-three adolescent females with BN symptoms (BN or other specified feeding or eating disorder) and 28 healthy adolescents participated in this study. Anatomical magnetic resonance imaging and clinical data were acquired at three time points within 2-year intervals over adolescence with 31% average attrition between assessments. Using a region-of-interest approach, we assessed group differences in CT at baseline and over time, and tested whether between- and within-subject variations in CT were associated with the frequency of BN symptoms. Results Reduced CT in right inferior frontal gyrus persisted over adolescence in BN compared to healthy adolescents, even in those who achieved full or partial remission. Within the BN group, between-subject variations in CT in inferior and orbital frontal regions were inversely associated with specific BN symptoms, suggesting, on average over time, greater CT reductions in those with more frequent BN symptoms. Conclusion Reduced CT in inferior frontal regions may contribute to illness persistence into adulthood. Reductions in the thickness of inferior and orbital frontal regions may be markers of specific BN symptoms. Since our sample size precluded correcting for multiple comparisons, these findings should be replicated in a larger sample. Future study of functional changes in associated fronto-striatal circuits could identify potential circuit-based intervention targets.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0890856717311796

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