Microstructural effects of Ramadan fasting on the brain: a diffusion tensor imaging study
AuthorBAKAN, Ayse Ahsen
Ilhan, MAHMUT MUZAFFER
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Purpose: We aimed to examine whether the brain displays any microstructural changes after a three-week Ramadan fasting period using diffusion tenson imaging. Methods: This study included a study and a control group of 25 volunteers each. In the study group, we examined and compared apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) and fractional anisotropy (FA) values of the participants during (phase 1) and after (phase 2) a period of fasting. The control group included individuals who did not fast. ADC and FA values obtained in phase 1 and phase 2 were compared between the study and control groups. Results: In the study group, ADC values of hypothalamus and, to a lesser extent, of insula were lower in phase 1 compared with phase 2 and the control group. The FA values of amygdala, middle temporal cortex, thalamus and, to a lesser extent, of medial prefrontal cortex were lower in phase 1 compared with phase 2 and the control group. Phase 2 ADC and FA values of the study group were not significantly different compared with the control group at any brain location. Conclusion: A three-week Ramadan fasting period can cause microstructural changes in the brain, and diffusion tensor imaging enables the visualization of these changes. The identification of brain locations where changes occurred in ADC and FA values during fasting can be helpful in diagnostic imaging and understanding the pathophysiology of eating disorders.