1 Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria 2004 Vol: 26(2):. DOI: 10.1590/S1516-44462004000200008

Neuropsicologia dos transtornos alimentares: revisão sistemática da literatura

BACKGROUND: The pathophysiology of eating disorders is still unknown, with many factors possibly involved. The existence of a central nervous system (CNS) dysfunction is being investigated with particular interest. One of the most employed strategies to reach this goal is the evaluation of cognitive functioning of patients with eating disorders with neuropsychological tests. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the current knowledge about the neuropsychology of ED. METHODS: We performed a review of several data bases (including MedLINE, PsychoINFO, LILACS and Cochrane Data Bank), using terms related to main theme of interest. The review comprised articles published up to January, 2004. RESULTS: Anorexia Nervosa (AN) was t­ ­ he most studied ED from the neuropsychological point-of-view, with studies tending to elicit attentive, visuo-spatial, and visuo-constructive deficits among such patients. On the other side, patients with Bulimia Nervosa (BN) exhibited déficits in the selective aspects of attention and in executive functions. As yet, there is no study covering the neuropsychological aspects of binge-eating disorder. After successful treatment, individuals show improvement of some cognitive deficits, while other seem to persist. CONCLUSIONS: The ED are possibly associated with a certain degree of neuropsychological dysfunction, even though there is no consesus with regard to which function is particularly impaired. The fact that some cognitive dysfunction tend to disappear after treatment argues in favor of the hypothesis that these are functional deficits. Other deficits, however, tend to persist, suggesting that they may precede the development of eating disorders or even contribute to their development or to a worse prognosis. The study of the neuropsychological aspects of ED may help tailoring more selective therapeutic approaches to patients suffering from these disorders.

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