Auditory P300 In College-Aged Females At-Risk for Eating Disorders
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Neurological impairment in eating disorders has been widely documented. The P300 component of event-related potentials has demonstrated efficacy in identifying individuals who suffer from mental disorders and cognitive deficits. More recently, a number of researchers have used P300 event-related potentials (ERPs) to elucidate the effects of food intake and glucose metabolism on brain function and performance on cognitive tasks. Minor food deprivation decreases P300 amplitude and increases P300 latency, indicators of impaired cognitive performance. Short-term memory disruptions correlate with such ERP decrements. The present study examined the auditory P300 in females who are at-risk for developing an eating disorder as defined by a score of 14 or more on the Drive for Thinness subscale of the Eating Disorder Inventory-:! (EDI-2). Memory performance was also examined. The results failed to support the hypothesis that at-risk females, compared to normal controls would restrict their food intake and would therefore exhibit smaller P300 amplitudes, longer P300 latencies, and impaired short-term memory. There was also no statistically significant difference between the at-risk and normal controls group on a self-report measure of amount of and time since last food consumption. Interestingly, the at-risk and normal controls groups also differed significantly on EDI-2 scores for the bulimia, interoceptive awareness, and asceticism subscales.
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