Recovery from anorexia without brain stimulation

 In Week in Review

The Lancet Psychiatry reports that brain stimulation increased the body weight of 16 anorexic patients and improved  several other symptoms (1). Although these patients were thought to be treatment resistant, Mandometer has treated 150 anorexic patients, who had a lower body weight, by normalizing their eating behavior (2).

It is long known that stimulation of the brain elicits behavioral responses that can cause emotional problems via feedback on the brain (3). Learning to eat normally has the opposite effect, dissolving the emotional problems (2), thus avoiding the ethical concerns associated with brain stimulation (4).

  1. Lipsman N, Lam E, Volpini M, et al. Deep brain stimulation of the subcallosal cingulate for treatment-refractory anorexia nervosa: 1 year follow-up of an open-label trial. Lancet Psychiatry 2017; 4: 285–94.
  2.  Bergh C, Callmar M, Danemar S, et al. Effective treatment of eating disorders: Results at multiple sites. Behav Neurosci 2013; 127: 878–89.
  3.  Valenstein ES, Cox VC, Kakolewski JW. Reexamination of the role of the hypothalamus in motivation. Psychol Rev 1970; 77: 16–31.
  4. Pugh J, Maslen H, Savulescu J. Ethical surgical placebo-controlled trials of deep brain stimulation for treatment-resistant anorexia nervosa. Lancet Psychiatry 2017; 4: 441–2.
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