[Neuropsychology of eating disorders: a systematic review of the literature].

Instituto de Psiquiatria, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Grupo de Obesidade e Transtornos Alimentares, Instituto Estadual de Diabetes e Endocrinologia (IEDE-RJ), RJ, Brazil.
Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria (Impact Factor: 1.64). 07/2004; 26(2):107-17.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The pathophysiology of eating disorders is still unknown, with many factors possibly involved. The existence of a central nervous system (CNS) dysfunction is being investigated with particular interest. One of the most employed strategies to reach this goal is the evaluation of cognitive functioning of patients with eating disorders with neuropsychological tests.
To evaluate the current knowledge about the neuropsychology of ED.
We performed a review of several data bases (including MedLINE, PsychoINFO, LILACS and Cochrane Data Bank), using terms related to main theme of interest. The review comprised articles published up to January, 2004.
Anorexia Nervosa (AN) was the most studied ED from the neuropsychological point-of-view, with studies tending to elicit attentive, visuo-spatial, and visuo-constructive deficits among such patients. On the other side, patients with Bulimia Nervosa (BN) exhibited deficits in the selective aspects of attention and in executive functions. As yet, there is no study covering the neuropsychological aspects of binge-eating disorder. After successful treatment, individuals show improvement of some cognitive deficits, while other seem to persist.
The ED are possibly associated with a certain degree of neuropsychological dysfunction, even though there is no consensus with regard to which function is particularly impaired. The fact that some cognitive dysfunction tend to disappear after treatment argues in favor of the hypothesis that these are functional deficits. Other deficits, however, tend to persist, suggesting that they may precede the development of eating disorders or even contribute to their development or to a worse prognosis. The study of the neuropsychological aspects of ED may help tailoring more selective therapeutic approaches to patients suffering from these disorders.

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    ABSTRACT: We investigated the impact of temporary food restriction on a set shifting task requiring participants to judge clusters of pictures against a frequently changing rule. 60 healthy female participants underwent two testing sessions: once after fasting for 16 hours and once in a satiated state. Participants also completed a battery of questionnaires (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale [HADS]; Persistence, Perseveration and Perfectionism Questionnaire [PPPQ-22]; and Eating Disorders Examination Questionnaire [EDE-Q6]). Set shifting costs were significantly increased after fasting; this effect was independent of self-reported mood and perseveration. Furthermore, higher levels of weight concern predicted a general performance decrement under conditions of fasting. We conclude that relatively short periods of fasting can lead to set shifting impairments. This finding may have relevance to studies of development, individual differences, and the interpretation of psychometric tests. It also could have implications for understanding the etiology and maintenance of eating disorders, in which impaired set shifting has been implicated.
    PLoS ONE 07/2014; 9(7):e101946. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0101946 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives Recent research suggests certain neuropsychological deficits occur in anorexia nervosa (AN). The role of starvation in these deficits remains unclear. Studies of individuals without AN can elucidate our understanding of the effect of short-term starvation on neuropsychological performance. Methods Using a within-subjects repeated measures design, 60 healthy female participants were tested once after fasting for 18 hours, and once when satiated. Measures included two tasks to measure central coherence and a set-shifting task. Results Fasting exacerbated set-shifting difficulties on a rule-change task. Fasting was associated with stronger local and impaired global processing, indicating weaker central coherence. Conclusions Models of AN that propose a central role for set-shifting difficulties or weak central coherence should also consider the impact of short-term fasting on these processes.
    PLoS ONE 10/2014; 9(10). DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0110743 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Several studies support the assumption that brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays an important role in the pathophysiology of eating disorders. In the present cross-sectional and longitudinal study, we investigated BDNF levels in patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) at different stages of their illness and the association with cognitive functioning. We measured serum BDNF in 72 acutely underweight female AN patients (acAN), 23 female AN patients who successfully recovered from their illness (recAN), and 52 healthy control woman (HCW). Longitudinally, 30 acAN patients were reassessed after short-term weight gain. The association between BDNF levels and psychomotor speed was investigated using the Trail Making Test. BDNF serum concentrations were significantly higher in recAN participants if compared to acAN patients and increased with short-term weight gain. In acAN patients, but not HCW, BDNF levels were inversely associated with psychomotor speed. AcAN patients with higher BDNF levels also had lower life time body mass indexes. Taken together, our results indicate that serum BDNF levels in patients with AN vary with the stage of illness. Based on the pleiotropic functions of BDNF, changing levels of this neurotrophin may have different context-dependent effects, one of which may be the modulation of cognitive functioning in acutely underweight patients.
    Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry 05/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.pnpbp.2014.05.006 · 4.03 Impact Factor