Long before, a significant number of experts have regarded anorexia as an emotional disorder characterized by an obsessive desire to lose weight by refusing to eat. Chronic anorexia causes serious health problems that has been mainly caused by malnutrition, including weak bones and muscles, sexual problems, infertility, heart problems and seizures. Now, a new small study that has involved 16 people with severe anorexia have recently found that implanting stimulation electrodes into the brains of patients could potentially ease their anxiety and help them gain weight. The study, which has been published in The Lancet Psychiatry, reveals that deep brain stimulation might alter the brain circuits that drive anorexia nervosa symptoms and is seen to most likely help improve patients' mental and physical health.
Deep Brain Stimulation For Anorexia
According to reports revealed by Fox News, researchers of the study have allegedly found that in extreme cases of the eating disorder, the technique referred to as deep brain stimulation (DBS) have rapidly aided many of those studied reduce symptoms of either anxiety or depression, and improved their quality of life. The researchers said that a few months after their experiment, it turns out that the improved psychological symptoms began to lead to changes in weight with the average body mass index (BMI) of the group increasing to 17.3 which is a considered as a huge rise of 3.5 points. Additionally, although more research is still required, experts have highly emphasized that the findings suggest that the intervention is safe and could help improve some symptoms of anorexia.
Furthermore, in one of his statements reported by Medical Xpress, study lead author, Professor Andres Lozano, University of Toronto, Canada, have described anorexia as a psychiatric disorder with the highest mortality rate, and there is an urgent need in coming up with a safe, effective and as well as evidence-driven treatments that are informed by a growing understanding of brain circuitry. Additionally, Dr. Nir Lipsman, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Canada, who was also involved in the study said that although their findings emphasize the need for continued research into novel neuromodulation strategies for anorexia nervosa, it basically suggests that a focal brain intervention, deep brain stimulation, may have an impact on the circuitry of symptoms that serve to maintain anorexia and make it so difficult to treat. As of the press time, DBS is being used to target brain circuits involved in Parkinson's disease and tremors, and has also been shown to be very effective in reducing symptoms.
On the other hand, after intensive treatment, nearly half of adult women with anorexia nervosa relapse within a year which then shows how modern neuroscience can lead to a new treatment and simultaneously improve understanding of perpetuating factors in a complex, multifactorial disease. Ultimately, difficulty in changing these factors, which are not a part of the diagnostic symptoms of anorexia nervosa, which is seen to contribute to the poor outcomes that are consequently seen with conventional treatments.