Brain Signaling Shows Weight-Loss Promise
Researchers are working on a new last resort for weight loss: deep brain stimulation. This surgical procedure involves implanting a medical device that delivers electrical impulses to targeted regions of the brain. It’s used to treat Parkinson’s disease, among other conditions, and is under investigation as a treatment for clinical depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and addiction. These conditions, as well as binge eating, are believed to be linked to a dysfunctional reward system—the dopamine pathway—in the brain. To test the effects of deep brain signaling on binge-eating behavior, researchers applied electrical pulses to the reward center in the brains of obese mice. The stimulated mice started eating less and lost weight, suggesting that deep brain stimulation could someday help people overcome binge-eating disorders.
Source: The Journal of Neuroscience, April 24, 2013