Tags: brain | stimulation | dbs | obesity

Brain 'Pacemaker' Halts Binge Eating

Friday, 29 June 2012 01:33 PM

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) – a technique used to treat certain mental health conditions – may reduce binge eating tendencies, according to a new study in mice that could have significant implications for people.
The finding, reported at The Endocrine Society's 94th Annual Meeting in Houston this week, suggests DBS surgery may also be an effective therapy for obesity in patients who have not had success with other treatments.
"Doing brain surgery for obesity treatment is a controversial idea," acknowledged lead researcher Dr. Casey Halpern, a neurosurgeon at the University of Pennsylvania. "However, binge eating is a common feature of obese patients that frequently is associated with suboptimal treatment outcomes."
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved DBS – which uses a pacemaker-like device to deliver electrical pulses to the brain -- for use in Parkinson's disease and other conditions. It does not destroy any part of the brain and typically does not cause pain.
A region of the brain called the nucleus accumbens has been linked to binge eating in both rodents and people. Halpern and his co-workers targeted that brain region with DBS in a strain of obesity-prone mice. The scientists reported a 60 percent decrease in binge eating among the mice on the days they received DBS treatments.

© HealthDay

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Deep brain stimulation could prove to be effective new therapy for obesity.
Friday, 29 June 2012 01:33 PM
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