Current literature suggests an increased attentional bias toward food stimuli in eating-disordered individuals compared to healthy controls. In line with these research efforts, the present study aims to investigate the processing of food stimuli (enriched by emotional stimuli) between patients diagnosed for anorexia nervosa (AN) and healthy controls by means of electroencephalography. Twenty-two female adolescents (eleven AN patients vs. eleven healthy controls) were investigated.
Background: The clinical picture of anorexia nervosa represents a severe disease, during which serious physical and mental complications can occur. Girls and young women are most affected, the aetiopathogenesis is usually multifactorial.
Background: Patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) are more emotionally involved with food stimuli (Giel et al., 2011). More emotional arousal is associated with higher amplitudes of evoked potentials in the EEG (Cuthbert et al., 2000). Objective: Investigation of neural correlates measured by EEG (visually evoked potentials) that are associated with the reactions to food and emotional stimuli in AN patients. Methods: 13 AN patients and 13 healthy controls watched food and emotional pictures during EEG measurement.
Theoretical Background: Current literature shows that patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) exhibit reduced relative alpha power and increased beta power in the EEG (Hatch et al., 2010). Neurofeedback as operant conditioning technique is supposed to lead to an increase of positive therapy outcome by changing long-lasting EEG frequency patterns and by regulating the “hyperarousal” found in AN patients (Gunkelman & Johnstone, 2005).