The global thinning of cortical gray matter observed in acutely ill adolescent patients can be completely reversed following successful weight rehabilitation therapy.
Study participants underwent MRI scanning immediately following admission to specialized eating disorder clinics at the Dresdener University Hospital and following successful therapy with complete restoration of normal weight, eating behavior and menstruation. Roughly half of the patients that receive treatment successfully maintain these criteria - it is an extremely long road to long-term recovery for those afflicted with anorexia nervosa.
"We observed complete normalization of cortical gray matter thickness in the long-term weight rehabilitated patients in our sample", exclaimed Prof. Ehrlich, "which is a particularly encouraging finding for those suffering from the disorder." However, while this study shows that changes in brain structure can improve with therapy, anorexia nervosa may have other serious long-term consequences that are not reversible, such as reduction of bone mass due to osteoporosis.