About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us

Brain Pacemaker to Treat Anorexia

by Sheela Philomena on March 7, 2013 at 10:09 AM
Font : A-A+

 Brain Pacemaker to Treat Anorexia

Scientists for the first time have used deep brain stimulation to treat anorexia. The technique is in an experimental phase and only some patients had improved, but the treatment showed promise, they wrote in the Lancet medical journal.

After nine months, three of the six patients in the trial had put on weight and appeared to be in a better state of mind, said the team of specialists from the United States and Canada.


For the three, "this was the longest period of sustained increase in BMI (Body Mass Index -- the ratio between a person's height and weight) since the onset of their illness," wrote the authors.

Furthermore, the technique known as deep brain stimulation (DBS) "was associated with improvements in mood, anxiety... and anorexia nervosa-related obsessions and compulsions in four patients and with improvements in quality of life in three patients after six months of stimulation," said the paper.

Three patients, however, showed no weight improvement and the scientists pointed out that the procedure was associated with "several adverse events" -- including one woman suffering a seizure.

Other effects included panic attacks, nausea and pain.

Anorexia nervosa is usually a chronic illness that affects nearly one percent of people. It is typically diagnosed in young women aged 15-19.

It has one of the highest mortality rates of a psychiatric disorder -- between six and 11 percent -- and is among the most difficult to treat, the authors wrote.

The trial involved implanting electrodes into the part of the brain that regulates emotion so as to moderate the activity of dysfunctional brain circuits.

The device, which works similar to a pacemaker, was connected to a pulse generator implanted under the skin.

A the time of surgery, the women were aged between 24 and 57 and had been suffering from anorexia for between four and 37 years.

DBS is used to treat several neurological disorders including Parkinson's disease and chronic pain, but this was a first for anorexia.

In a comment on the study, Janet Treasure and Ulrike Schmidt of King's College London's Institute of Psychiatry said the findings were "promising".

"The fact that the procedure was associated in some patients with improvements in affective and obsessional symptoms is of key importance since such improvements will go some way towards reassuring patients that DBS is not just another treatment designed to fatten them up without making them feel better," they wrote.

Source: AFP

News A-Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2021 - Fighting for Rights in the Post-COVID Era
Effect of Blood Group Type on COVID-19 Risk and Severity
Woman with Rare Spinal Cord Defect from Birth Sues Doctor
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Parkinsons Disease Parkinsons Disease Surgical Treatment Palpitations And Arrhythmias Brain Brain Facts Ataxia Quiz on Anorexia / Bulimia Atrial Fibrillation Language Areas in The Brain Ways to Improve your Intelligence Quotient (IQ) 

Recommended Reading
Anorexia Nervosa
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder most commonly found among teenage girls. Anorexia nervosa is ...
Quiz on Anorexia / Bulimia
Anorexia Nervosa - is it a psychological disorder , or simply an eating disorder gotten out of ......
Premature Discharge of Teenage Anorexia Victim Leads to Death
Laura Willmott, a teenage victim of anorexia did not make it and she died in December 2011....
Neuropathic Pain can be Eased by Deep Brain Stimulation
A new study says that deep brain stimulation (DBS) can lead to long-term improvement in pain scores ...
Ataxia affects coordination. Gait becomes unstable and the patient loses balance. The cerebellum or ...
Atrial Fibrillation
Atrial fibrillation may not be life-threatening in itself but it is important to understand the caus...
Language Areas in The Brain
The mechanism of how human brain processes the language to express and comprehend the verbal, writte...
Palpitations And Arrhythmias
Palpitations are unpleasant sensation of one’s own heartbeat....
Parkinsons Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease caused by progressive dopamine brain cells loss. ...
Ways to Improve your Intelligence Quotient (IQ)
Intelligence quotient (IQ) is a psychological measure of human intelligence. Regular physical and me...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use