Altered intrinsic brain connectivity of patients with anorexia nervosa has been observed in the acute phase of the disorder, but it remains unclear to what extent these alterations recover during weight normalization. In this study, we used functional imaging data from three time points to probe longitudinal changes in intrinsic connectivity patterns in patients with severe anorexia nervosa (BMI ≤ 15.5 kg/m2) over the course of weight normalization. At three distinct stages of inpatient treatment, we examined resting-state functional connectivity in 27 women with severe anorexia nervosa and 40 closely matched healthy controls. Using network-based statistics and graph-theoretic measures, we examined differences in global network strength, subnetworks with altered intrinsic connectivity, and global network topology. Patients with severe anorexia nervosa showed weakened intrinsic connectivity and altered network topology which did not recover during treatment. The persistent disruption of brain networks suggests sustained alterations of information processing in weight-recovered severe anorexia nervosa.
© 2023. The Author(s).