Voxel-based morphometry in eating disorders: Correlation of psychopathology with grey matter volume
Twenty-nine adult female patients with eating disorders (17 with bulimia nervosa, 12 with restrictive anorexia nervosa) were compared with 18 age-matched female healthy controls, using voxel-based morphometry. Restrictive anorexia nervosa patients showed a decrease of grey matter, particularly affecting the anterior cingulate cortex, frontal operculum, temporoparietal regions and the precuneus. By contrast, patients with bulimia nervosa did not differ from healthy controls. A positive correlation of "drive for thinness" and grey matter volume of the right inferior parietal lobe was found for both eating disorder groups. The strong reduction of grey matter volume in adult patients with restrictive anorexia nervosa is in line with results of adolescent patients. Contrary to other studies, this first voxel-based morphometry report of bulimic patients did not find any structural abnormalities. The inferior parietal cortex is a critical region for sensory integration of body and spatial perception, and the correlation of "drive for thinness" with grey matter volume of this region points to a neural correlate of this core psychopathological feature of eating disorders.