Anorexia Nervosa (AN) is a disorder with a dramatic impact on both the individual and society. Besides severe weight loss, excessive physical exercise and cognitive disturbances can be present in patients with AN as primary symptoms of the pathology or as secondary effects induced by physical and metabolic alterations. Mechanistic research in this field has taken advantage of a well characterized animal model, the activity-based anorexia model (ABA). ABA rodents and subjects with AN show clear behavioral and physiological similarities, but a throughout neurocognitive assessment of the model is still missing. Here, we review the available literature in the ABA field, highlighting similarities between ABA and AN at the behavioral, neurophysiological and cognitive level. Furthermore, based on availability, feasibility and adaptability of rodent behavioral protocols, we propose a set of neurocognitive assays that can be performed on the ABA. The proposed assessment represents an important step forward in the validation and extension of the ABA model, opening several routes of investigation related to AN and other eating disorders.
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