The neural correlates of a central coherence task in young women with anorexia nervosa

Monica Leslie, Daniel Halls, Jenni Leppanen, Felicity Sedgewick, Katie Lang, Leon Fonville, Mima Simic, William Mandy, Dasha Nicholls, Steven Williams, Kate Tchanturia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

Objective
Heightened detail-processing and low levels of central coherence are common in individuals with anorexia nervosa (AN) and predict poorer prognosis. However, it is unclear whether these processing styles predate the disorder or, rather, emerge during later stages of AN. The current study aimed to address this question by investigating central coherence, and the neural correlates of central coherence, in a sample of young women with AN with shorter duration of illness than previous studies recruiting adult samples.

Methods
We recruited 186 participants, including: 73 young women with AN, 45 young women weight-recovered from AN, and 68 age-matched controls. Participants completed the Embedded Figures Task during an fMRI scan.

Results
There were no significant differences between the participant groups in performance accuracy or reaction time. There were no other between-groups differences in neural response to the Embedded Figures Task.

Conclusions
These findings contrast with evidence from older adults demonstrating differences in the neural underpinning of central coherence amongst participants with AN versus control participants. The current study adds to an increasing literature base demonstrating the resilience of neuropsychological traits and associated brain systems in the early stages of AN.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)744-755
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Eating Disorders Review
Volume29
Issue number5
Early online date18 Jul 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
KT would like to acknowledge: MRC-MRF Fund (MR/S020381/1; BiomaRkers for AnorexIa NErvosa and autism spectrum Disorders-longitudinal study and MR/R004595/1 The Triple A study (Adolescents with Anorexia and Autism): A search for biomarkers).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. European Eating Disorders Review published by Eating Disorders Association and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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