Scientists test deep brain stimulation as potential anorexia therapy

(Reuters) – A small study in 16 people with severe anorexia has found that implanting stimulation electrodes into the brains of patients could ease their anxiety and help them gain weight. Researchers found that in extreme cases of the eating disorder, the technique – known as deep brain stimulation (DBS) – swiftly helped many of those studied reduce symptoms of either anxiety or depression, and improved their quality of life. A few months later, the improved psychological symptoms began to lead to changes in weight, the researchers said, with the average body mass index (BMI) of the group increasing to 17.3 – a rise of 3.5 points – over the course of the study. Anorexia is a serious eating disorder that affects around 0.5 percent of people worldwide, the majority of them teenage girls. Patients have persistent concerns about their weight, shape and size, and starve themselves to maintain a low weight. Chronic anorexia can be fatal, and in many cases causes severe health problems including weak bones and muscles, sexual problems, infertility, heart problems and seizures. The scientists who led this study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal on Friday, said their results suggest deep brain stimulation – which involves implanting electrodes to stimulate brain areas that control dysfunctional behaviors – might alter the brain circuits that drive anorexia. DBS is already used to target brain circuits involved in Parkinson’s d...
Source: Mass Device - Category: Medical Equipment Authors: Tags: Neurological Source Type: news

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