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Open AccessArticle

Autonomic Nervous System Response during Light Physical Activity in Adolescents with Anorexia Nervosa Measured by Wearable Devices

1
Institute of Clinical Physiology, National Research Council of Italy (CNR), via Moruzzi 1, 56124 Pisa, Italy
2
IRCCS Stella Maris Foundation, Viale del Tirreno 331, 56018 Calambrone, PI, Italy
3
The BioRobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’ Anna, Viale Rinaldo Piaggio 34, 56025 Pontedera, PI, Italy
4
Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Pisa, Via Roma 55, 56100 Pisa, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sensors 2019, 19(12), 2820; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19122820
Received: 6 May 2019 / Revised: 17 June 2019 / Accepted: 21 June 2019 / Published: 24 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wearable Sensors and Devices for Healthcare Applications)
Anorexia nervosa (AN) is associated with a wide range of disturbances of the autonomic nervous system. The aim of the present study was to monitor the heart rate (HR) and the heart rate variability (HRV) during light physical activity in a group of adolescent girls with AN and in age-matched controls using a wearable, minimally obtrusive device. For the study, we enrolled a sample of 23 adolescents with AN and 17 controls. After performing a 12-lead electrocardiogram and echocardiography, we used a wearable device to record a one-lead electrocardiogram for 5 min at baseline for 5 min during light physical exercise (Task) and for 5 min during recovery. From the recording, we extracted HR and HRV indices. Among subjects with AN, the HR increased at task and decreased at recovery, whereas among controls it did not change between the test phases. HRV features showed a different trend between the two groups, with an increased low-to-high frequency ratio (LF/HF) in the AN group due to increased LF and decreased HF, differently from controls that, otherwise, slightly increased their standard deviation of NN intervals (SDNN) and the root mean square of successive differences (RMSSD). The response in the AN group during the task as compared to that of healthy adolescents suggests a possible sympathetic activation or parasympathetic withdrawal, differently from controls. This result could be related to the low energy availability associated to the excessive loss of fat and lean mass in subjects with AN, that could drive to autonomic imbalance even during light physical activity. View Full-Text
Keywords: anorexia nervosa; autonomic function; eating disorders; exercise; heart rate; heart rate variability; wearable; wireless technologies anorexia nervosa; autonomic function; eating disorders; exercise; heart rate; heart rate variability; wearable; wireless technologies
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Billeci, L.; Tonacci, A.; Brunori, E.; Raso, R.; Calderoni, S.; Maestro, S.; Morales, M.A. Autonomic Nervous System Response during Light Physical Activity in Adolescents with Anorexia Nervosa Measured by Wearable Devices. Sensors 2019, 19, 2820.

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Sensors, EISSN 1424-8220, Published by MDPI AG
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