Social Interactions in Atypical Anorexia Nervosa

Social Interactions and Weight Loss

Computer imaging of human brain

Atypical anorexia nervosa is a serious and understudied eating disorder defined by substantial weight loss, severe restrictive eating behaviors, and cognitive disturbances related to eating and body image, but without the low body mass index observed in typical anorexia nervosa.

This exploratory project will examine if social rewards and self-perception are altered in atypical anorexia nervosa in comparison to healthy women that have lost weight without developing eating disorder psychopathology, such as overly restrictive eating or distortions about body image.

What does this study entail?

The study involves online questionnaires, cognitive and psychiatric assessments, online behavioral games, and/or an fMRI scan. Participants have the flexibility to complete the study in 3-4 visits, some of which can be done virtually. 

How long does each visit last?

The timings for each visit vary depending on visit type, but in general, each visit can last up to 30 minutes - 1.5 hours. The fMRI may take up to > 2 hours. 

Are you eligible?

Participants who meet the criteria below are eligible to participate:

  • Female

  • Not Pregnant

  • BMI > 20 and less than 40
  • Current BMI demonstrates a weight loss of at least 10% of the highest body mass in the last three years
  • Age between 18 - 46

  • Able to provide informed consent and fluent in English

  • No ferroreative metals in the body or piercings that cannot be removed

  • Medically safe for MRI (only for those in the MRI subgroup)

Current Status: Enrolling

For more information or to enroll in the study, contact Ava Ryan at or by calling (214) 648-4617.

Related Links

MRI Information - UTSW