Body image issues linked to ‘bad wiring’ in the brain

1 May 2013

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), a psychiatric syndrome that makes people perceive themselves as ugly and disfigured, has now been linked to ‘bad wiring’ in the brain. The discovery was recently made by researchers at the University of California, where a study of 30 individuals was conducted.

Dr Feusner led the research, which compared brain scans of 16 normal adults and 14 who had previously been diagnosed with BDD. Ultimately, scientists hoped to understand brain connections and how white matter networks were organised. In the end, they learned that BDD sufferers had unusually high network clustering throughout the brain, which means information is not processed properly. Research also revealed that a connection exists in BDD patients which associates visual input with emotions.

“This could affect how they perceive their physical appearance and may also result in them getting caught up in the details of other thoughts and cognitive processes,” Dr Feusner said.

The findings come shortly after previous research revealed that anorexic people have a connection error in the brain that makes them think they’re overweight when they aren’t.

Instead of relying solely on personal perception, individuals should consult a doctor if they believe their weight is putting them at risk for a number of health conditions. Consider gastric bypass surgery to resolve the problem - don’t put it off if weight is a serious issue. By doing so, you may be prolonging personal dissatisfaction and emotional distress. Consult a therapist if you think you might have BDD.

Posted by Philip Briggs

Health News is provided by Adfero in collaboration with Spire Healthcare. Please note that all copy above is © Adfero Ltd. and does not reflect views or opinions of Spire Healthcare unless explicitly stated. Additional comments on the page from individual Spire consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other consultants or Spire Healthcare.

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