A broad-spectrum review on multimodal neuroimaging in bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder

G. Mele, V. Alfano, A. Cotugno, M. Longarzo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Bulimia nervosa (BN) and binge eating disorder (BED) are psychiatric conditions marked by emotional disorders managed through the ingestion of great amount of food, with consequent vomiting for avoiding weight gain. Such behavioral habits are dysfunctional and severely impact both psychological and physical health, also compromising neurobiological processes. In the present review, we focus on recent neuroimaging findings (2010–2019) that provide insight into the neural bases of BN and BED. We describe the role of different neuroimaging techniques (magnetic resonance imaging, both structural and functional, positron emission tomography, single-photon emission computerized tomography, electroencephalography and magnetoencephalography) in the delineation of pathophysiological aspects of BN and BED. Results highlight the main involvement of the frontal system and its relationships with temporal areas for reward and self-regulatory processes modulation. The network that regulates food-stimuli control seems to be widespread across the brain, catching the insula, precentral gyrus, frontal cortex and extending until the visual cortex for processing of body image. These results demonstrate diffuse brain vulnerability associated with BN and BED and can confirm that symptomatology maintenance results from several neurostructural and neurofunctional alterations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104712
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2020


  • Binge eating disorder
  • Brain networks
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Electroencephalography
  • Neurobiological alterations
  • Neuroimaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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