Differential brain activation in anorexia nervosa to Fat and Thin words during a Stroop task

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We measured brain activation in six anorexia nervosa patients and six healthy controls performing a novel emotional Stroop task using Fat, Thin, and Neutral words, and words made of XXXXs. Reaction times increased in the patient group in Thin and Fat conditions. In the Thin–XXXX contrast, patients showed greater activation than controls at the junction of left insula, frontal and temporal lobes and in left middle and medial frontal gyri. In the Fat–XXXX contrast, controls showed greater activation in left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and right parietal areas. Mechanisms underlying attentional bias in anorexia nervosa likely differ under conditions of positive and negative valence. This paradigm is a promising tool to examine neural mediation of emotional response in anorexia nervosa.

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