Anorexia can be Treated with Brain Stimulation Procedures

An eating disorder known as anorexia, is actually a chronic brain disorder that causes a person to lose the way to enjoy the food and the body tends to refuse to eat. The scientists discovered a way to treat anorexia, using brain stimulation.

Anorexia is a chronic disease that affects nearly one percent of the men and is usually diagnosed in young women aged 15 to 19 years. This condition is one of the psychiatric disorders that cause the highest mortality, which is between 6-11 percent.

"Anorexia is also one of the most difficult disorders to treat, so we work hard to investigate and find effective ways to cure it," write the study authors.

Ulrike Schmidt and Janet Treasure of King's College London Institute of Psychiatry research by implanting electrodes DBS (Deep Brain Stimulation) to parts of the brain that regulate emotions so as to moderate the activity of brain circuits.

DBS device works similar to a pacemaker, which is connected to a pulse generator and implanted under the skin. DBS is usually used to treat neurological disorders including Parkinson's disease and chronic pain, but this is the first procedure for anorexia.

The experiment involves the treatment of female patients aged between 24-57 years old and have had anorexia between 4-37 years. This technique is still in the experimental stage and some anorexic patients have improved after undergoing the procedure. According to research published in the journal Lancet, the treatment of anorexia in this way is quite promising.

After 9 months, 3 of 6 patients with anorexia who are involved in the treatment procedure of weight gain and better mental condition. Researchers also added that the three patients who were successfully increased weight, having the addition of BMI (Body Mass Index) ever since being diagnosed with anorexia.

In addition, a technique known as DBS stimulation has been associated with improvements in mood and anxiety associated with anorexia. Patients who have undergone the procedure is claimed to have improved quality of life after 6 months of stimulation.

However, three other patients showed no increase in body weight and actually experiencing certain symptoms that are side effects of treatment, such as panic attacks, nausea, pain, and even one female patient having a seizure.

Researchers concluded that DBS is a treatment designed to fatten the body without making the patient feel better. So still need to do further research to improve the treatment techniques.