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Table 1 Characteristics and key findings of included studies using MRI as the primary method

From: Neuroimaging in bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder: a systematic review

Authors & Journal Participants Mean age (SD) % Female Procedure Psychiatric / other exclusions Findings
1. Coutinho et al. (2015) [22]
International Journal of Eating Disorders, 48(2): 206-214.
BN (n=21) HCs (n=20) BN: 31.57 (8.27)
HCs: 30.9 (8.79)
100% One resting-state MRI Substance abuse disorder; suicidal ideation; Axis I disorder other than eating disorder; psychotropic medication with the exception of anxiolytics and antidepressants Volume reduction in the CN within the frontostriatal circuit in BN compared to HCs
2. Doraiswamy et al. (1990) [37]
Biological Psychiatry, 28: 110-116.
BN (n = 10)
AN (n = 8)
HCs (n = 13)
BN: 24 (2.5)
AN: 22.8 (4.4)
HCs: 27.5 (5.1)
100% One resting-state MRI Major affective disorder AN & BN vs HCs: smaller pituitary gland area and heights
A trend approaching statistical significance was found: the area of the pituitary was negatively correlated with duration of illness
3. Galusca et al. (2014) [39]
The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry, 15: 599-608.
BN-P* (n=9) HCs (n=11)
*only severe BN-P participants selected; criterion being at least one binge-purge episode/day for at least six months
BN-P: Only the age range (18-30y) was reported. No mean or SD.
HCs: No data, however reported to be age-matched.
100% MRI and PET completed 2h following lunch
PET to specifically examine serotonergic activity / binding potential of [18F]MPPF (a serotonin specific radiogland used in PET capable of assessing change in brain serotonin)
Chronic or congenital disease; alcohol, tobacco or drug consumption; previous or current diagnosis of AN-R; medication
In the BN group: oral contraceptive pill
BN vs HCs: increased binding potential in four clusters in the brain: Insula and transverse temporal cortex, operculum, temporo-parietal cortex
Abnormalities in impaired activation, glucose metabolism or ligand binding in areas including insula and temporal parietal cortex, hippocampal region, inter-hemispheric cortex, PFC and dorsal raphe nucleus
4. Hoffman et al. (1989) [35]
Biological Psychiatry, 25: 894-902.
BN (n=8)
HCs (n=8)
HCs: 26.8
No SD reported
100% One resting-state MRI Past diagnosis of AN; current diagnosis of major affective disorder; alcohol abuse BN vs HCs: cortical atrophy found in the sagittal cerebral / cranio ratio (SCCR) but not in the ventricle:brain ratio (VBR)
Significant positive correlation between binge frequency and VBR
5. Hoffman et al. (1990) [38]
Biological Psychiatry, 27: 116-119.
BN (n=8)
HC (n=7)
BN 24.3 (3.2)
HC 24.3 (3.4)
100% One resting-state MRI Current diagnosis of major affective disorder; alcohol abuse
In the BN & HC group: lifetime diagnosis of AN; medication
BN vs HC: Significant decrease in inferior frontal grey matter
6. Husain et al. (1992) [36]
Biological Psychiatry, 31: 735-738.
BN (n=12)
AN (n=12)
HCs (n=11)
BN 24.5 (4)
AN: 25.3 (7)
27.8 (6)
100% One resting-state MRI In the BN group: past diagnosis of AN AN vs. BN & HCs: Significantly smaller thalamus and midbrain (mesencephalon) area
The ratio of thalamus to cerebral hemisphere and midbrain to cerebral hemisphere was significantly smaller in BN & AN vs. HCs however post-hoc tests showed this result was only related to AN participants
7. Schäfer et al. (2010) [24]
NeuroImage, 50: 639-643.
BN-P (n=14) BED (n=17) HCs (n=19) BN-P: 23.1 (3.8)
BED: 26.4 (6.4)
HCs: 22.3 (2.6)
100% One resting-state MRI to examine structural brain abnormalities. Grey matter volumes (GMV) for specific regions involved in food / reinforcement processing were analysed via voxel-based morphometry: medial / lateral OFC, insula, ACC, ventral / dorsal striatum Depression; left-handedness; medication BN vs. BED: greater GMV of medial and lateral orbitofrontal cortex as well as ventral & dorsal striatum
BN vs HCs: increased GMV of medial OFC & ventral striatum
BED vs HCs: greater GMV of ACC & medial OFC
BN & BED vs. HCs: greater volumes of the medial OFC
BN vs BED & HCs: increased ventral striatum volumes; BMI was negatively correlated with striatal grey matter volume while purging was positively correlated with ventral striatum volume