Researchers Study How Anorexia Nervosa Modifies Body Awarene
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A study has shown that, in addition to the conscious body image, what is known as the body schema unconscious body awareness is also distorted. In patients with anorexia, it could remain at the same level as before the start of the illness. The researchers recommend a combination of cognitive-behavioral therapy and the use of virtual reality to correct the distorted body schema.

Twenty three patients diagnosed with anorexia nervosa and 23 healthy controls (HC) walked through a door like an aperture varying in width. Door width was based on participants' shoulder width and ranged from an aperture to shoulder ratio of (A/S) 0.9 to 1.45.

Shoulder rotation was measured as an indication of perceived body width. To measure the unconscious body schema, we used a cover story pretending to investigate the influence of the change of position on retention memory.

Results:
The team found a significantly higher critical A/S for anorexia nervosa than HC, which indicates that AN patients rotate their shoulders for relatively larger door widths than HC, thus unconsciously estimating their body size to be larger than in reality. Additionally, we found a correlation between negative body attribution and the overestimation of bodily dimensions.

Conclusion:
It was concluded that a body schema distortion seems relevant for the diagnosis of AN. The body schema should be targeted in future treatment approaches.

Source:
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/eat.23451
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