Disruption of Spatial Task Performance in Anorexia Nervosa

University of Bologna, Italy
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.53). 01/2013; 8(1):e54928. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0054928
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In anorexia nervosa (AN), body distortions have been associated with parietal cortex (PC) dysfunction. The PC is the anatomical substrate for a supramodal reference framework involved in spatial orientation constancy. Here, we sought to evaluate spatial orientation constancy and the perception of body orientation in AN patients. In the present study, we investigated the effect of passive lateral body inclination on the visual and tactile subjective vertical (SV) and body Z-axis in 25 AN patients and 25 healthy controls. Subjects performed visual- and tactile-spatial judgments of axis orientations in an upright position and tilted 90° clockwise or counterclockwise. We observed a significant deviation of the tactile and visual SV towards the body (an A-effect) under tilted conditions, suggesting a multisensory impairment in spatial orientation. Deviation of the Z-axis in the direction of the tilt was also observed in the AN group. The greater A-effect in AN patients may reflect reduced interoceptive awareness and thus inadequate consideration of gravitational inflow. Furthermore, marked body weight loss could decrease the somatosensory inputs required for spatial orientation. Our study results suggest that spatial references are impaired in AN. This may be due to particular integration of visual, tactile and gravitational information (e.g. vestibular and proprioceptive cues) in the PC.

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    ABSTRACT: People with anorexia nervosa (AN) usually report feeling broader than they really are. The objective of the present study was to better understand the body schema's involvement in this false self-representation in AN. We tested the potential for correction of the body schema impairment via the sensorimotor feedback provided by a real, executed action and relative to an imagined action. We also took account of the impact of the AN patients' weight variations on the task outcomes.
    BMC Research Notes 10/2014; 7(1):707. DOI:10.1186/1756-0500-7-707
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    ABSTRACT: Background Body image distortion is a central symptom of Anorexia Nervosa (AN). Even if corporeal awareness is multisensory majority of AN studies mainly investigated visual misperception. We systematically reviewed AN studies that have investigated different nonvisual sensory inputs using an integrative multisensory approach to body perception. We also discussed the findings in the light of AN neuroimaging evidence. Methods PubMed and PsycINFO were searched until March, 2014. To be included in the review, studies were mainly required to: investigate a sample of patients with current or past AN and a control group and use tasks that directly elicited one or more nonvisual sensory domains. Results Thirteen studies were included. They studied a total of 223 people with current or past AN and 273 control subjects. Overall, results show impairment in tactile and proprioceptive domains of body perception in AN patients. Interoception and multisensory integration have been poorly explored directly in AN patients. A limitation of this review is the relatively small amount of literature available. Conclusions Our results showed that AN patients had a multisensory impairment of body perception that goes beyond visual misperception and involves tactile and proprioceptive sensory components. Furthermore, impairment of tactile and proprioceptive components may be associated with parietal cortex alterations in AN patients. Interoception and multisensory integration have been weakly explored directly. Further research, using multisensory approaches as well as neuroimaging techniques, is needed to better define the complexity of body image distortion in AN. Key Findings The review suggests an altered capacity of AN patients in processing and integration of bodily signals: body parts are experienced as dissociated from their holistic and perceptive dimensions. Specifically, it is likely that not only perception but memory, and in particular sensorimotor/proprioceptive memory, shapes bodily experience in patients with AN.
    PLoS ONE 10/2014; 9(10):e110087. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0110087 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Clinical psychology is starting to explain eating disorders (ED) as the outcome of the interaction among cognitive, socio-emotional and interpersonal elements. In particular two influential models-the revised cognitive-interpersonal maintenance model and the transdiagnostic cognitive behavioral theory-identified possible key predisposing and maintaining factors. These models, even if very influential and able to provide clear suggestions for therapy, still are not able to provide answers to several critical questions: why do not all the individuals with obsessive compulsive features, anxious avoidance or with a dysfunctional scheme for self-evaluation develop an ED? What is the role of the body experience in the etiology of these disorders? In this paper we suggest that the path to a meaningful answer requires the integration of these models with the recent outcomes of cognitive neuroscience. First, our bodily representations are not just a way to map an external space but the main tool we use to generate meaning, organize our experience, and shape our social identity. In particular, we will argue that our bodily experience evolves over time by integrating six different representations of the body characterized by specific pathologies-body schema (phantom limb), spatial body (unilateral hemi-neglect), active body (alien hand syndrome), personal body (autoscopic phenomena), objectified body (xenomelia) and body image (body dysmorphia). Second, these representations include either schematic (allocentric) or perceptual (egocentric) contents that interact within the working memory of the individual through the alignment between the retrieved contents from long-term memory and the ongoing egocentric contents from perception. In this view EDs may be the outcome of an impairment in the ability of updating a negative body representation stored in autobiographical memory (allocentric) with real-time sensorimotor and proprioceptive data (egocentric).
    Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 05/2014; 8:236. DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2014.00236 · 2.90 Impact Factor

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