Binge eating curbed by deep brain stimulation in animal model, study shows

April 24, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—Deep brain stimulation (DBS) in a precise region of the brain appears to reduce caloric intake and prompt weight loss in obese animal models, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania. The study, reported in the Journal of Neuroscience, reinforces the involvement of dopamine deficits in increasing obesity-related behaviors such as binge eating, and demonstrates that DBS can reverse this response via activation of the dopamine type-2 receptor.

"Based on this research, DBS may provide therapeutic relief to , a behavior commonly seen in obese humans, and frequently unresponsive to other approaches," said senior author Tracy L. Bale, PhD, associate professor of neuroscience in Penn's School of Veterinary Medicine's Department of Animal Biology and in the Perelman School of Medicine's Department of Psychiatry. DBS is currently used to reduce tremors in Parkinson's disease and is under investigation as a therapy for major depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Nearly 50 percent of obese people binge eat, uncontrollably consuming palatable highly caloric food within a short period of time. In this study, researchers targeted the nucleus accumbens, a small structure in the center known to be involved in addictive behaviors. Mice receiving the stimulation ate significantly less of the high fat food compared to mice not receiving DBS. Following stimulation, mice did not compensate for the loss of calories by eating more. However, on days when the device was turned off, binge eating resumed.

Researchers also tested the long-term effects of DBS on that had been given unlimited access to high-fat food. During four days of continuous stimulation, the obese mice consumed fewer calories and, importantly, their body weight dropped. These mice also showed improvement in their glucose sensitivity, suggestive of a reversal of type 2 diabetes.

"These results are our best evidence yet that targeting the with DBS may be able to modify specific feeding behaviors linked to body weight changes and obesity," Bale added.

"Once replicated in human clinical trials, DBS could rapidly become a treatment for people with obesity due to the extensive groundwork already established in other disease areas," said lead author Casey Halpern, MD, resident in the Department of Neurosurgery of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Explore further: Binge eating improves with deep brain stimulation surgery

Related Stories

Binge eating improves with deep brain stimulation surgery

June 25, 2012
Deep brain stimulation reduces binge eating in mice, suggesting that this surgery, which is approved for treatment of certain neurologic and psychiatric disorders, may also be an effective therapy for obesity. Presentation ...

Electrical stimulation of brain boosts birth of new cells, may improve memory

September 20, 2011
Stimulating a specific region of the brain leads to the production of new brain cells that enhance memory, according to an animal study in the September 21 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience. The findings show how deep ...

Scientists pinpoint how deep brain stimulation eases OCD

February 24, 2013
(HealthDay)—Deep brain stimulation has helped people with severe obsessive-compulsive disorder, and new research begins to explain why.

Next-generation brain stimulation may improve treatment of Parkinson's disease

October 19, 2011
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a devastating and incurable disease that causes abnormal poverty of movement, involuntary tremor, and lack of coordination. A technique called deep brain stimulation (DBS) is sometimes used to ...

DBS operation for Parkinson's disease performed inside iMRI

September 19, 2011
Henry Ford Hospital became the third hospital in the United States to perform a Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) procedure inside an Intraoperative Magnetic Resonance Imaging scanner, or iMRI.

Recommended for you

Cognitive cross-training enhances learning, study finds

July 25, 2017
Just as athletes cross-train to improve physical skills, those wanting to enhance cognitive skills can benefit from multiple ways of exercising the brain, according to a comprehensive new study from University of Illinois ...

Brain disease seen in most football players in large report

July 25, 2017
Research on 202 former football players found evidence of a brain disease linked to repeated head blows in nearly all of them, from athletes in the National Football League, college and even high school.

Zebrafish study reveals clues to healing spinal cord injuries

July 25, 2017
Fresh insights into how zebrafish repair their nerve connections could hold clues to new therapies for people with spinal cord injuries.

Lutein may counter cognitive aging, study finds

July 25, 2017
Spinach and kale are favorites of those looking to stay physically fit, but they also could keep consumers cognitively fit, according to a new study from University of Illinois researchers.

Brain stimulation may improve cognitive performance in people with schizophrenia

July 24, 2017
Brain stimulation could be used to treat cognitive deficits frequently associated with schizophrenia, according to a new study from King's College London.

New map may lead to drug development for complex brain disorders, researcher says

July 24, 2017
Just as parents are not the root of all their children's problems, a single gene mutation can't be blamed for complex brain disorders like autism, according to a Keck School of Medicine of USC neuroscientist.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.