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Cortical Complexity in Anorexia Nervosa: A Fractal Dimension Analysis

Collantoni, Enrico; Madan, Christopher R.; Meneguzzo, Paolo; Chiappini, Iolanna; Tenconi, Elena; Manara, Renzo; Favaro, Angela


Enrico Collantoni

Paolo Meneguzzo

Iolanna Chiappini

Elena Tenconi

Renzo Manara

Angela Favaro


Fractal Dimension (FD) has shown to be a promising means to describe the morphology of cortical structures across different neurologic and psychiatric conditions, displaying a good sensitivity in capturing atrophy processes. In this study, we aimed at exploring the morphology of cortical areas by means of FD in 58 female patients with Anorexia Nervosa (AN) (38 currently underweight and 20 fully recovered) and 38 healthy controls (HC). All participants underwent high-resolution MRI. Surface extraction was completed using FreeSurfer, FD was computed using the calcFD toolbox. The whole cortex mean FD value was lower in acute AN patients compared to HC (p < 0.001). Recovered AN patients did not show differences in the global FD when compared to HC. However, some brain areas showed higher FD in patients than controls, while others showed the opposite pattern. Parietal regions showed lower FD in both AN groups. In acute AN patients, the FD correlated with age (p < 0.001), body mass index (p = 0.019) and duration of illness (p = 0.011). FD seems to represent a feasible method to explore cortical complexity in patients with AN since it demonstrated to be sensitive to the effects of both severity and duration of malnutrition.


Collantoni, E., Madan, C. R., Meneguzzo, P., Chiappini, I., Tenconi, E., Manara, R., & Favaro, A. (2020). Cortical Complexity in Anorexia Nervosa: A Fractal Dimension Analysis. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 9(3), 833.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 17, 2020
Online Publication Date Mar 19, 2020
Publication Date Mar 19, 2020
Deposit Date May 19, 2020
Publicly Available Date May 19, 2020
Journal Journal of Clinical Medicine
Electronic ISSN 2077-0383
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Issue 3
Pages 833
Keywords eating disorders; anorexia nervosa; malnutrition; neuroimaging; fractal dimension; cortical complexity
Public URL
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