Emotional responsiveness task in emotional distress: correlated of functional neuroimaging in anorexia and bulimia

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Federico D'AgataF. Amianto


Aim: The present study aims to extend the knowledge of the neural correlates of emotion processing in first episode subjects affected by anorexia nervosa (AN) or bulimia nervosa (BN). We applied an emotional distress paradigm targeting negative emotions thought to be relevant for interpersonal difficulties and therapeutic resistance mechanisms. Methods: The current study applied a neuroimaging paradigm eliciting affective responses to 44 female participants with newly diagnosed AN or BN and 20 matched controls. The measurements also included an extensive assessment comprised of clinical scales, neuropsychological tests, measures of emotion processing and empathy. Results: AN and BN did not differ from controls in terms of emotional response, emotion matching, self-reported empathy and cognitive performance. However, scores of eating disorder and psychopathological clinical scores, as well alexithymia levels, were increased in AN and BN. On a neural level, no significant group differences emerged, even when focusing on a region of interest selected a priori: the amygdala. Conclusions: Our data are against the hypothesis that participants with AN or BN display a reduced emotional responsiveness. This supports the hypothesis that ...Continue Reading

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