Background: An abnormality in regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) in anorexia nervosa (AN) patients has been reported. There are very few studies that have investigated the rCBF changes in the recovery process of AN.
Methods: For eight female AN patients, we performed (123)I-IMP single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and four psychological assessments (Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI), Eating Attitude Test (EAT), Self-Rating Depression Scale (SDS) and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI)) both before and after inpatient-behavioral therapy. SPECT images were analyzed using statistical parametric mapping software. We also performed correlational analysis between rCBF and clinical variables.
Results: Following treatment, the patients showed significant body weight recovery. They showed significant improvement in EAT, SDS, STAI and a subscale of EDI - interoceptive awareness (IA) - but not in total EDI or other EDI subscales. Significant rCBF increases were observed in the precuneus, posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) by the treatment. Significant correlation was observed between rCBF of right DLPFC and IA score before treatment.
Conclusions: Changes of rCBF in right DLPFC, ACC, MPFC, PCC and precuneus were related to the AN recovery process and might be associated with improvement of IA following treatment.