New Study Claims ‘Electrical Brain Stimulation’ Limits Binge Eating

digital neural network around a human brain, 3d illustration

According to research, home electrical brain stimulation is an effective treatment for conquering binge eating.

The average number of binge episodes per participant decreased from twenty per month to six per month six weeks after they started treatments, according to the research.

In six weeks, the frequency of binge episodes decreased from twenty times per month to six times per month among those who underwent the therapy.

From the beginning of the trial to the six-week follow-up, individuals in this group also reported losing up to 4kg (8.8lbs).

A noninvasive brain stimulation method known as transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is being used to help people overcome long-held habits of thought and action related to eating.

Brain stimulation was administered in conjunction with attention bias adjustment training (ABMT), a technique that required 15-minute computer sessions. It taught people to ignore cues for high-calorie foods and search for those with fewer calories.

The study’s first author, Dr. Michaela Flynn of King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience (IoPPN), says that for the first time, their research examines a home-based treatment option for a binge-eating disorder that takes a novel tack.

Dr. Flynn said participants reported changes in their eating habits and weight reduction that persisted for a while after therapy finished.

Episodes of binge eating, in which the affected person eats a large quantity of food in a short amount of time, occur frequently enough to cause discomfort.

Obesity and metabolic problems are expected outcomes of the disorder, which is often accompanied by depression and anxiety.

The 82 participants, divided into four groups, were all overweight or obese and met the BED criteria.

In one set of attention bias modification training (ABMT) participants, a combination of ten sessions of self-administered tDCS at home was given to them.

During ABMT, which lasted 10-15 minutes and was conducted on a laptop or desktop computer, people were instructed to gaze away from high-calorie food signals and toward low-calorie food cues.

A head hat with electrodes connected was part of the specialized equipment used to provide brain stimulation at home.

On average, patients who had ABMT with sham tDCS lost 1.5 to 2 kg more weight than those who underwent combo treatment.