Skip to main content


Table 3 Characteristics and key findings of included studies using SPECT and PET 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. Beato-Fernandez et al. (2011) [34]
Actas Espanolas de Psiqiuiatria, 39(4): 203-10.
AN-R (n=11)
AN-P (n=10)
BN-NP (n=7)
BN-P (n=14)
HCs (n=12)
AN-R: 27.1
AN-P: 28.4
BN-P: 30.7
BN-NP: 34.7
HC: 20.6
No SD of mean age reported
Not reported 3x SPECT scans to measure rCBF during rest condition; calm visual stimulus condition and another after seeing their own body (filmed). Left handedness; psychiatric illness aside from ED; neurological disorders AN-R, AN-P, BN-P, BN-NP vs HCs: decreased right temporal rCBF when moving from rest condition to neutral visual image
AN-R & BN-P vs other groups: increased right temporal rCBF going from neutral visual image to own body visual image
2. Karhunen et al. (2000) [63]
Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging Section, 99: 29-42.
OB BED (n=8)
OB non-BED (n=11)
HCs (n=12)
OB BED: 36.1(9.3)
OB non-BED: 45.0 (10.0)
HCs: 39.8(9.7)
100% 1 x SPECT scan to measure rCBF while participants were looking at a control image (landscape) and 1 x SPECT scan while participants were looking at a portion of real food after an overnight fast. Left handedness;
‘No other disorders or medication known to affect the variables examined’ (pp31)
OB BED vs OB non-BED & HCs: significantly greater increase in rCBF in the left hemisphere compared to the right hemisphere, particularly in the frontal and prefrontal cortices, in the food exposure condition
All groups experienced a significant increase in hunger in the food exposure condition. In the OB-BED group only, this was associated with significantly higher rCBF in the left frontal and pre-frontal cortices
3. Delvenne et al. (1997) [65]
International Journal of Eating Disorders, 21(4):313-320.
BN (n=11)
HCs (n=11)
BN: 26.2 (10.9)
HCs: 25.7 (2.1)
100% Resting state PET with (18-F) fluorodeoxyglucose used to evaluate cerebral glucose metabolism. History of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT); significant abnormalities on physical and neurological examination; left handedness; no psychoactive medication for a minimum of 10 days; history of neuroleptic medication BN vs HCs: absolute hypometabolism of glucose both globally and regionally, notably in the parietal and superior frontal cortices. The BN group also showed a lower relative regional cerebral glucose metabolism in the parietal cortex
4. Nozoe et al. (1995) [64]
Brain Research Bulletin, 36(3): 251-255.
BN (n=5)
AN (n=8)
HCs (n=9)
BN: 21.0 (2.9)
AN: 24.1 (7.8)
HCs: 20.3 (1.0)
100% Examined rCBF using SPECT before and after food intake (slice of cake) Left handedness; abnormal neurological findings BN vs AN & HCs: highest rCBF before eating in the left temporal and bilateral inferior frontal regions. Also, BN showed less increase in cortical activity post-eating
BN and AN showed opposite patterns of frontal reaction to food stimuli
AN: showed no marked cortical laterality or activation in any cortical area pre-eating but showed greater increased cortical activity post-eating