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Disgust and disgust sensitivity in bulimia nervosa: An fMRI study

by Anne Schienle, Rudolf Stark, Axel Sch??fer, Bertram Walter, Peter Kirsch, Dieter Vaitl
European Eating Disorders Review ()


This study attempted to demonstrate an elevated disgust sensitivity\nin bulimia nervosa. Eleven bulimic patients and 12 control subjects\nunderwent a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study in\nwhich they were presented with alternating blocks of 40 disgust-inducing,\n40 fear-inducing and 40 affectively neutral scenes. Each scene was\nshown for 1.5 s. After completion of all blocks, affective ratings\nwere then determined. The viewing of the disgusting pictures, which\nhad been rated as highly repulsive by the bulimic females, was associated\nwith an activation of the left amygdala and the occipito-temporal\nvisual cortex. The subjective and brain-physiological responses did\nnot differ from those of the healthy control subjects. This held\ntrue for the fear-inducing scenes as well. Thus, bulimic patients\nare not characterized by an increased global disgust sensitivity\nand they do not show any indication of an altered central processing\nof generally disgust and fear-inducing visual stimuli. Copyright\n(C) 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.

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