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University of Gothenburg
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Cognition and anorexia nervosa

Participants: Sandra Rydberg Dobrescu, Elisabet Wentz, Louise Karjalainen, Gunilla Paulson Karlsson & Eva Billstedt.

Background: The last two decades the cognitive profile in anorexia nervosa (AN) has become a hot topic. Poor flexibility and weak central coherence (difficulties in grasping the bigger picture) have been observed in several studies of adults with AN. It has been suggested that these cognitive shortcomings may be characteristic of the AN endophenotype. Poor flexibility and weak central coherence have also been demonstrated in individuals with autism. Teenagers with AN have not been investigated to the same extent as adults, with regard to flexibility and central coherence.

Aim: To investigate the neuropsychological profile in adolescents with AN aged 13-18 during the acute phase and after weight gain and to examine the relationship between cognitive profile, ADHD symptoms and autistic traits. A comparison group matched for age and gender will also be examined.

Method: Patients aged 13-18 at Anorexia Bulimia Clinic at Queen Silvia Children University Hospital in Gothenburg will be invited to participate. To be included in the study the patients must have been accepted for treatment at the clinic, fulfil criteria for AN, and have a BMI below -2 SD.

Neuropsychological tests, measuring flexibility (WCST – Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, Trailmaking AB) and central coherence (Rey’s complex figure, embedded figures and object assembly – a test included in the Wechsler scales) will be administered as well as four tests from the Wechsler scales to estimate level of intelligence. A self-report questionnaire measuring autistic traits (AQ) and an interview regarding ADHD symptoms (ADHD-RS) will also be used. At one-year follow-up, when the individuals may be expected to have gained weight, the tests will be administered a second time.

Results: All individuals have so far been included and half the group has been followed up after one year. The results will be presented in a manuscript and submitted to a scientific journal.


Page Manager: Anna Spyrou|Last update: 4/4/2016

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