Neurobiological signature of intimacy in anorexia nervosa

Simon Maier, Julia Spiegelberg, Linda van Zutphen, Almut Zeeck, Ludger Tebartz van Elst, Armin Hartmann, Lukas Holovics, Elke Reinert, Angelika Sandholz, Claas Lahmann, Katharina Domschke, Volkmar Glauche, Oliver Tuescher, Andreas A. B. Joos*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

Background Intimacy and psychosexual development represent core problems of anorexia nervosa (AN). Experiential and neurobiological evidence however is scarce. Material and methods Thirty-one female AN patients were compared with 35 non-patients (NP) and 22 recovered participants (REC) by using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Participants viewed pictures of couples in intimate relationships and control stimuli. Results AN patients experienced intimate stimuli with lower valence and dominance. AN showed decreased activation of parietal cortices. NP decreased the prefrontal cortex response, which AN patients did not. REC participants did not differ from NP on a behavioural level, though with regard to the neural signature. Discussion Parietal cortices are related to processing of erotic themes, which seems to be deficient in AN. Dysfunction of prefrontal cortices likely mirrors dysfunctional control in AN. The neural signature does not seem to be state-related considering results of REC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-322
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Eating Disorders Review
Volume27
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2019

Keywords

  • anorexia nervosa
  • functional magnetic resonance imaging
  • intimacy
  • ATTACHMENT REPRESENTATION
  • PICTURE STIMULI
  • ROMANTIC LOVE
  • WOMEN
  • ACTIVATION
  • ENVIRONMENT
  • SEXUALITY
  • FEMALES
  • AROUSAL
  • ABUSE

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