Normal brain tissue volumes after long-term recovery in anorexia and bulimia nervosa

Biol Psychiatry. 2006 Feb 1;59(3):291-3. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2005.06.014. Epub 2005 Sep 1.


Background: Individuals who are ill with anorexia (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN) often have increased cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) volumes and decreased total gray and white matter volumes. It is unclear whether such disturbances persist after recovery from an eating disorder.

Methods: Magnetic resonance imaging was performed on 40 women who were long-term recovered (>1 year no binging, purging, or restricting behaviors, normal weight, and menstrual cycles, not on medication) from restricting or binge/purging type AN or BN and 31 healthy control women (CW). Voxel-based morphometry (VBM) was used for data analysis.

Results: Recovered AN and BN subgroups were similar to CW in terms of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) volume as well as total or regional gray or white matter volume.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that structural brain abnormalities are reversible in individuals with eating disorders after long-term recovery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anorexia Nervosa / pathology*
  • Anorexia Nervosa / rehabilitation
  • Atrophy
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Bulimia / pathology*
  • Bulimia / rehabilitation*
  • Cerebral Ventricles / pathology
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid / physiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Recovery of Function / physiology