Under the auspices of 01MH090062-01A1, we are using multimodal imaging measures to determine how functional and anatomical disturbances in the specific frontostriatal circuits that underlie self-regulatory capacities contribute to the development and persistence of Bulimia Nervosa (BN) over adolescence. We are currently assessing longitudinal changes in the function, anatomical characteristics, and organization of these frontostriatal circuits in 40 adolescents with BN compared with 40 matched controls, 13-18 years of age. The goal of this competitive supplement is to use our novel virtual-reality fMRI paradigm to assess the functioning of the overlapping circuits that mediate reward-based learning in the same adolescents with and without BN who are already participating in our longitudinal study, during their second scan session. We will also assess functional connectivity within these overlapping circuits and determine whether functional disturbances are associated with BN symptom severity. We suspect that these disturbances likely release from regulatory control the learned and habitual binge eating and purging behaviors that characterize BN. This supplement is therefore a cost-effective way to add to the significance and innovation of the research detailed in the parent grant, allowing to identify functional abnormalities in reward based learning systems that, together with abnormalities in self-regulatory capacities, likely contribute to the persistence of BN over adolescence.
This competitive supplement to our longitudinal imaging study of adolescents with Bulimia Nervosa (R01MH090062-01A1) will identify functional abnormalities in reward-based learning systems that, together with abnormalities in self-regulatory capacities, will point to a biomarker (frontostriatal circuits) that will aid in the development of early interventions and individualized treatments for this disabling illness.
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