Resting state functional connectivity in anorexia nervosa

Andrea Phillipou, Larry Allen Abel, David Jonathan Castle, Matthew Edward Hughes, Richard Grant Nibbs, Caroline Gurvich, Susan Lee Rossell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Anorexia Nervosa (AN) is a serious psychiatric illness characterised by a disturbance in body image, a fear of weight gain and significantly low body weight. The factors involved in the genesis and maintenance of AN are unclear, though the potential neurobiological underpinnings of the condition are of increasing interest. Through the investigation of functional connectivity of the brain at rest, information relating to neuronal communication and integration of information that may relate to behaviours and cognitive symptoms can be explored. The aim of this study was to investigate functional connectivity of the default mode network, and sensorimotor and visual networks in AN. 26 females with AN and 27 healthy control participants matched for age, gender and premorbid intelligence underwent a resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging scan. Default mode network functional connectivity did not differ between groups. AN participants displayed reduced functional connectivity between the sensorimotor and visual networks, in comparison to healthy controls. This finding is discussed in terms of differences in visuospatial processing in AN and the distortion of body image experienced by these individuals. Overall, the findings suggest that sensorimotor and visual network connectivity may be related to visuospatial processing in AN, though, further research is required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-52
Number of pages8
JournalPsychiatry Research: Neuroimaging
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2016


  • Default mode network
  • Eating disorder
  • FMRI
  • Visuospatial processing

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