The main aim of this study is to determine the Functional networks develop throughout adolescence when anorexia nervosa (AN) normally debuts. In AN, cerebral structural alterations are found in most brain regions and may be related to the observed functional brain changes. Few studies have investigated the functional networks of the brain in adolescent AN patients.. The aim of this explorative study was to investigate multiple functional networks in adolescent AN patients compared to healthy age-matched controls (HC) and the relationship with age, eating disorder symptoms and structural alterations.

Included were 29 female inpatients with restrictive AN, and 27 HC. All participants were between the ages of 12 to 18 years. Independent component analysis (ICA) identified 21 functional networks that were analyzed with multivariate and univariate analyses of components and group affiliation (AN vs HC). Age, age × group interaction and AN symptoms were included as covariates. Follow-up correlational analyses of selected components and structural measures (cortical thickness and subcortical volume) were carried out.

Decreased functional connectivity (FC) in AN patients was found in one cortical network, involving mainly the precuneus, and identified as a default mode network (DMN). Cortical thickness in the precuneus was significantly correlated with functional connectivity in this network.

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