Differentiation of Cognitive and Motor Aspects in a Digit Symbol Substitution Test in Anorexia nervosa Patients, before and after Weight RestorationPieters G. · Maas Y. · Hulstijn W. · Vandereycken W. · Probst M. · Peuskens J. · Sabbe B.
aBehaviour Therapy Department, UC St. Jozef, Kortenberg, bCAPRI (Collaborative Antwerp Psychiatric Research Institute), University of Antwerp, Antwerp, cPsychology Department, Catholic University Leuven, and dFaculty of Physical Education and Physiotherapy, Catholic University Leuven, Leuven, Belgium; eNICI (Nijmegen Institute for Cognition and Information), University of Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Background: In a previous study, using computerized analysis of fine motor behaviour, seriously underweight anorexia nervosa patients in the early phase of treatment were found to have shorter reaction times, but not movement times, in experimental drawing and copying tasks. These differences persisted with weight restoration. Sampling and Methods: Using computerized analysis of writing and drawing behaviour during the performance of a Digit Symbol Substitution Test, 15 anorexia nervosa patients were compared with 15 normal controls, matched for age, sex and educational level. Patients were retested after weight restoration, as were controls after a similar interval. Results: Patients turned out to be superior in the cognitive, but not in the motor aspects of the Digit Symbol Substitution Test. These differences persisted after weight restoration. A practice effect, due to repeated testing, was found in both groups, which turned out to be cognitive in nature. Conclusions: The findings show that this new technique can add to the interpretation of classic neuropsychological tests. The results are compatible with previous findings of intact or even superior functioning in anorexia nervosa patients on neuropsychological tasks requiring considerable cognitive effort.
Dr. Guido Pieters
Behaviour Therapy Department, UC St. Jozef
Leuvensesteenweg 517, BE–3070 Kortenberg (Belgium)
Tel. +32 2 7580518, Fax +32 2 7595380
Received: December 15, 2003
Accepted after revision: June 4, 2004
Published online: September 7, 2004
Number of Print Pages : 6
Number of Figures : 0, Number of Tables : 2, Number of References : 38
Psychopathology (International Journal of Descriptive and Experimental Psychopathology, Phenomenology and Psychiatric Diagnosis)
Founded 1897 as ‘Monatsschrift für Psychiatrie und Neurologie’
Official Journal of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA), Section of Clinical Psychopathology and Section of Classification and Diagnostic Assessment
Vol. 37, No. 5, Year 2004 (Cover Date: September-October 2004)
Journal Editor: C. Mundt, Heidelberg; E. Gabriel, Vienna; J.E. Mezzich, New York, N.Y.
ISSN: 0254–4962 (print), 1423–033X (Online)
For additional information: http://www.karger.com/psp