Anorexia Symptoms Improved By Brain Stimulation – Study


A recent research suggests that just one session of transcranial stimulation (rTMS) can alleviate the primary symptoms of anorexia nervosa. According to a research, rTMS, a non-invasive brain-stimulation treatment, has been proven to reduce the primary symptoms of anorexia nervosa, such as the restriction of food intake and the feeling of being fat.  A randomized controlled trial was carried out to evaluate whether rTMS, which was already an approved treatment for depression, is also successful in alleviating anorexia symptoms. Dr. Jessica McClelland, author of the study and a post-doctoral researcher at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), King’s College London, stated that they discovered that just one session of transcranial stimulation can already diminish the drive for food intake restriction and levels of feeling full and fat, in addition to strengthening sensible decision-making. Overall, these findings indicate that brain stimulation may alleviate anorexia symptoms by enhancing cognitive control over the compelling aspect of the disorder.Like us on Facebook For this disorder, the percentage of people who recover from anorexia reaches only up to 20 to 30, utilizing the best obtainable talking therapies, and up to 20% die prematurely. “With rTMS we targeted the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain thought to be involved in some of the self-regulation difficulties associated with anorexia,” McClelland said. “This technique alters neural activity by delivering magnetic pulses to specific regions of the brain, which feels like a gentle tapping sensation on the side of the head.” Forty-nine individuals participated in the study and completed food exposure and decision-making tasks, both before and after a session of either real or placebo rTMS. Immediately before and after rTMS, anorexia symptoms were evaluated, also 20 minutes and 24 hours post session. In the food exposure test, participants were asked to watch a 2-minute film of people eating tempting food, like chocolate and potato chips. Simultaneously, the same items were put in front of them. Then, perceived smell, taste, appearance, and urge to eat these foods were rated.  In the decision-making tasks, participants were instructed to decide between settling for a lower amount to be received immediately and a higher, fixed amount to be received in four time points. In comparison with the placebo group, the true rTMS group showed more sensible decision making skills, going for delayed gratification rather than the immediate option. “Our preliminary findings support the potential of novel brain-directed treatments for anorexia, which are desperately needed,” said Ulrike Schmidt from King’s College. Anorexia nervosa is a terrible, potentially life-threatening eating disorder marked by symptoms of self-starvation and too much weight loss, denying the body the essential nutrients it needs for normal functioning. Thus, the body’s functioning decreases to save energy. The findings were published in the journal PLOS ONE. Photo: Flickr,