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Friday, August 23, 2013

Teens with bigger brains at eating disorder risk

Teens with bigger brains at eating disorder risk

Teens with bigger brains at eating disorder risk 
A new research has claimed that teens having bigger brains are more prone to suffer from anorexia nervosa. 

According to a study by researchers at the University of Colorado's School of Medicine , the girls with anorexia nervosa had a larger insula, a part of the brain active when we taste food, and a larger orbitofrontal cortex, a part of the brain that tells a person when to stop eating.

Guido Frank , MD, assistant professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at CU School of Medicine, and his colleagues report that the bigger brain may be the reason people with anorexia are able to starve themselves.

Frank said that while eating disorders are often triggered by the environment, there are most likely biological mechanisms that have to come together for an individual to develop an eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa.

The researchers recruited 19 adolescent girls with anorexia nervosa and 22 in a control group and used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study brain volumes.

Individuals with anorexia nervosa showed greater left orbitofrontal, right insular, and bilateral temporal cortex gray matter compared to the control group.

In individuals with anorexia nervosa, orbitofrontal gray matter volume related negatively with sweet tastes. An additional comparison of this study group with adults with anorexia nervosa and a healthy control group supported greater orbitofrontal cortex and insula volumes in the disorder across this age group as well.

This study was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

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