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A Quantitative Dendritic Analysis of a Bulimic Brain: A Case Study
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by Birgit M. Fisher and Bob Jacobs* - The Colorado College
Supragranular pyramidal cells (N = 150) from frontal lobe areas with different thalamic-prefrontal connections were investigated for bulimic effects. Tissue from the left hemisphere of 1 neurologically normal, bulimic Caucasian female (age = 32 years) and 2 neurologically normal, Caucasian male control patients (ages = 23 and 32) was Golgi stained and quantified on a Neurolucida computer-microscope system (Microbrightfield, Inc.). An anterior-posterior gradient in dendritic complexity and spine numbers emerged. Differences were found in prefrontal regions between the bulimic patient and controls, with higher dependent measures emerging for the controls. No apparent pattern emerged in posterior regions. Present findings suggest a potential connection between bulimia and prefrontal neuromorphological abnormalities related to postulated subcortical disturbances.