CT and MR evaluation of the brain in patients with anorexia nervosa

L. Kornreich, A. Shapira, G. Horev, Y. Danziger, S. Tyano, M. Mimouni

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Thirteen adolescent girls with anorexia nervosa had MR imaging of the brain; 11 were also examined by CT. Fifteen children, ages 10-12 years, served as a control group. The CT and MR studies were evaluated qualitatively for cortical and central atrophic changes. CT detected sulcal and ventricular enlargement in 5/11 patients. On the MR images, enlarged sulci were seen in 10/13 and dilated ventricles in 5/13. In the anorectic patients, the range of the width of the third ventricle was 1-5 mm (mean, 3.2 mm) and the maximal distance between the anterior horns was 22.5-39.0 mm (mean, 30.0 mm). Anterior horns at their minimal width measured 11-30 mm (mean, 16.5 mm). The corresponding measurements in the control group were 1.5-3.5 mm (mean, 2.3 mm) for the third ventricle, 21-35 mm (mean, 28.5 mm) for the distance between the anterior horns, and 10-16 mm (mean, 12.8 mm) for their minimal width. Overall, the patient group had larger ventricles than the control group; however, the difference between the two groups was not significant. Measurement of the number of visible cortical sulci at one cut below the vertex yielded 2-11 sulci in the anorectic girls (mean, 6.6) versus 0-6 sulci (mean, 3.3) in the controls. These results are statistically significant (p = .0009), indicating peripheral volume loss in the anorectic patients. The MR examination did not reveal any additional structural or parenchymal changes when compared with the results of the CT studies. However, the pituitary glands of these patients did not have the expected normal pubertal hypertrophy on the MR examinations. On the contrary, they had a smaller mean height (4.6 mm as compared with 6.4 mm from the literature) and absence of the convex upper margin of the gland. Apart from the smaller mean height of the hypophysis, MR studies of the brain in anorectic patients did not yield any additional information to that already known from CT studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1213-1216
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1991


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