To test the hypothesis that women with full and subthreshold bulimia nervosa show abnormal neural activation in response to food intake and anticipated food intake relative to healthy control women.
Females with and without full/subthreshold bulimia nervosa recruited from the community (N = 26) underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during receipt and anticipated receipt of chocolate milkshake and a tasteless control solution.
Women with bulimia nervosa showed trends for less activation than healthy controls in the right anterior insula in response to anticipated receipt of chocolate milkshake (vs. tasteless solution) and in the left middle frontal gyrus, right posterior insula, right precentral gyrus, and right mid dorsal insula in response to consumptions of milkshake (vs. tasteless solution).
Bulimia nervosa may be related to potential hypofunctioning of the brain reward system, which may lead these individuals to binge eat to compensate for this reward deficit, though the hypo-responsivity might be a result of a history of binge eating highly palatable foods. © 2010 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2010)