Relation of trophic changes in the central nervous system, measured by the width of cordical sulci, to the clinical course of anorexia nervosa (II).

OBJECTIVES: In patients with anorexia nervosa (AN), computer tomography (CT) scanning and/or magnetic resonance imaging (MR) are usually applied to visualise trophic changes of the brain, resulting from considerable malnutrition or general cachexia of the organism. The goal of the study was an evaluation attempt of the degree of trophic changes in the central nervous system (CNS) of girls with AN, following CT scanning of the brain, together with an analysis of selected clinical and diagnostic parameters, related to the trophic changes in question.

PATIENTS & METHODS: The study involved fifty-five (55) female patients with AN. Following CT of the brain - scanning of the cortical sulci - four (4) groups of the patients were identified. The following classification of lesions was applied: Group I - width of cortical sulci < 1.5 mm - standard; Group II - the presence of cortical sulci of width < 1.5 mm and 1.5-3 mm; Group III - width of cortical sulci 1.5-3 mm; Group IV - the presence of cortical sulci of width at 1.5-3 mm and > 3 mm. We did not observe any patient with AN in whom the width of all the cortical sulci was bigger than 3 mm (Group V). In all the groups, clinical parameters, as well as routine laboratory tests and selected hormonal tests, were analysed.

RESULTS: In the performed CT scanning of the head in patients with AN, trophic changes in the CNS (as evaluated by the width of cortical sulci) were revealed in 67.3% of the patients. Among the studied groups, statistically significant differences were found for: body weight loss (BWL), the percent of BWL (BWL%), the BWL to disease duration ratio (BWL/time) and BWL%/time, serum concentrations of potassium, calcium, glucose, total protein and urea, as well as serum concentrations of LH, E2, cortisol, FT3 and FT4. The most pronounced disturbances were observed in Group IV, while the least ones - in Group I.

CONCLUSIONS: In CT scanning of the head, trophic changes in the CNS were observed in girls with AN, measured by the width of cortical sulci. The higher severity of trophic changes in the CNS was associated with higher BWL/time ratio, higher hypercortisolemia, more enhanced hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism, disorders in the peripheral metabolism of the thyroid hormones and with the obtained values of routine laboratory tests, indicating some tendency towards hypovolemia.

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