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Differentiating weight-restored anorexia nervosa and body dysmorphic disorder using neuroimaging and psychometric markers.

PLoS One. 2019;14(5):e0213974

Authors: Vaughn DA, Kerr WT, Moody TD, Cheng GK, Morfini F, Zhang A, Leow AD, Strober MA, Cohen MS, Feusner JD

Anorexia nervosa (AN) and body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) are potentially life-threatening conditions whose partially overlapping phenomenology-distorted perception of appearance, obsessions/compulsions, and limited insight-can make diagnostic distinction difficult in some cases. Accurate diagnosis is crucial, as the effective treatments for AN and BDD differ. To improve diagnostic accuracy and clarify the contributions of each of the multiple underlying factors, we developed a two-stage machine learning model that uses multimodal, neurobiology-based, and symptom-based quantitative data as features: task-based functional magnetic resonance imaging data using body visual stimuli, graph theory metrics of white matter connectivity from diffusor tensor imaging, and anxiety, depression, and insight psychometric scores. In a sample of unmedicated adults with BDD (n = 29), unmedicated adults with weight-restored AN (n = 24), and healthy controls (n = 31), the resulting model labeled individuals with an accuracy of 76%, significantly better than the chance accuracy of 35% ([Formula: see text]). In the multivariate model, reduced white matter global efficiency and better insight were associated more with AN than with BDD. These results improve our understanding of the relative contributions of the neurobiological characteristics and symptoms of these disorders. Moreover, this approach has the potential to aid clinicians in diagnosis, thereby leading to more tailored therapy.

PMID: 31059514 [PubMed – in process]

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