This brain stimulation treatment could help binge eating patients


To treat binge eating, researchers may have found a solution, which would involve stimulating the brain in a very specific area.

According to High Authority of Health, 3 to 5% of the population would suffer frombinge eating disorder, this pathology which leads to “recurrent episodes of binge eating, but without the use of the inappropriate compensatory behaviors characteristic of bulimia”. In fact, this eating disorder often leads to overweight in people who suffer from it, or even obesity. But researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, who published a study in Nature Communicationsmay have found a cure.

Eating disorders are linked to three areas of the brain, according to previous studies: the inferior parietal lobe, the frontal pole and the nucleus accumbens. These regions are respectively associated with inhibition, impulsivity and reward. In binge eating, we have already noticed thatappeared a low frequency signal in this nucleus accumbens. And the researchers decided to exploit this lead, in two patients subject to a crisis phase.

A box designed to treat epilepsy

They were inspired by a system initially planned to treat epilepsy, in the form of a box implanted in the brain, which caused stimulation of this area, over a period of 6 months. The doctors realized that the crises were spaced out thanks to the device, that the patients suffered less from them: they no longer had the impression of not being able to control their diet. This also helped them lose 5 kilos.

If this is only a first treatment approach, tested on a very small sample, scientists believe that this is encouraging. Especially since the patients did not register any significant side effects.

Sources : HAS, Nature Communication, Medical X Press.

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