New imaging technology provides insight into abnormalities in the brain circuitry of patients with anorexia nervosa (commonly known as anorexia) that may contribute to the puzzling symptoms found in people with the eating disorder. In a review paper published online in Nature Reviews Neuroscience, Walter Kaye, MD, professor of psychiatry and director of the Eating Disorders Program at the University of California, San Diego, and colleagues describe dysfunction in certain neural circuits of the brain which may help explain why people develop anorexia in the first place, and behaviors such as the relentless pursuit of dieting and weight loss.
"Currently, we don't have very effective means of treating people with anorexia," said Kaye. "Consequently, many patients with the disorder remain ill for years or eventually die from the disease, which has the highest death rate of any psychiatric disorder."
A better understanding of the underlying neurobiology – how behavior is coded in the brain and contributes to anorexia —is likely to result in more effective treatments, according to the researchers.
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