Regional cerebral glucose metabolism in bulimia nervosa

Paul J. Andreason, Margaret Altemus, Alan J. Zametkin, Anna C. King, Julio Licinio, Robert M. Cohen

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Objective: The authors' purpose in this study was to further delineate the character of cerebral metabolism in bulimia nervosa and to determine if functional links could be made between regional cerebral metabolism and the symptoms of depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and bulimia nervosa. Method: Regional cerebral glucose metabolism was measured by using positron emission tomography in 11 inpatients with bulimia nervosa and 18 normal comparison subjects matched in sex (all were women), age, and educational level. The bulimic patients were also tested for symptoms of major depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Results: The patients with bulimia showed a correlation between lower left anterolateral prefrontal regional cerebral glucose metabolism and greater depressive symptoms. However, the orbitofrontal regional cerebral glucose metabolism of patients with bulimia was not greater than that of comparison subjects, nor was higher orbitofrontal metabolism correlated with greater obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms. Conclusions: These findings lead to the conclusion that left anterior lateral prefrontal cortex hypometabolism varies with the depressive symptoms observed in bulimia but that temporal lobe hypermetabolism and asymmetries appear to be independent of the mood state.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1506-1513
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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