The neural basis of self-body size perception in Anorexia Nervosa: An Activation Likelihood Estimate (ALE) meta-analysis
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AN patients show distorted self-body size perception that expresses itself in inaccurate representations of their body size and shape. This distortion is caused by primed processing of perceptual information, leading to an overestimated body image and an overestimated body schema. Different brain regions play a role in processes relevant to self-body size perception. Regarding this study, reduced activation within regions of the PPC, like the precuneus and IPL, the MFG, and the RSC was expected in AN compared to HC. Other-body size perception was included as an additional variable to test the assumption that distorted body-size perception is limited to the own body in AN. In the present study, an ALE meta-analysis was conducted. In total, 15 fMRI-studies were included, 11 studies regarding self-body size perception, and eight studies regarding other-body size perception. Cluster analyses, contrast analyses, and conjunction analyses were conducted by using BrainMap GingerALE. Results showed no difference in activation during self-body size perception between AN and HC. During other-body size perception, AN patients showed increased activation in the right SPL/precuneus. This ALE meta-analysis provided evidence that neural activation in AN and HC might be similar during self-body size perception. However, AN patients might experience problems in processing other female bodies. Still, further research will be necessary to investigate the neural basis of self-body size perception in AN more closely. Especially, neural processes during proprioception and interoception, the vestibular system as well as resting-state functional connectivity should be explored in AN.