Deep Brain Stimulation Studied As Last-ditch Obesity Treatment

In a preliminary examine with three patients, researchers found that they may safely use the therapy, referred to as deep brain stimulation (DBS). Over nearly three years, none of the patients had any severe unintended effects, and two even lost some weight—but it was temporary. Dr. Donald Whiting, vice chairman of neurosurgery at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh.

The examine, reported within the Journal of Neurosurgery and at a gathering this week of the International Neuromodulation Society in Berlin, Germany, was not meant to test effectiveness. So the massive remaining question is, can deep brain stimulation truly promote lasting weight loss? Right now, deep mind stimulation is typically used for robust-to-treat instances of Parkinson’s disease, a movement disorder that causes tremors, stiff muscles, and balance and coordination issues.

A surgeon implants electrodes into specific motion-related areas of the brain, then attaches those electrodes to a neurostimulator positioned under the pores and skin near the collarbone. The neurostimulator regularly sends tiny electrical pulses to the mind, which in flip interferes with the abnormal activity that causes tremors and other symptoms. What does that must do with obesity?

In theory, Whiting explained, deep brain stimulation might be able to “override” brain signaling involved in eating, metabolism or feelings of fullness. Research in animals has proven that electrical stimulation of a particular space of the brain—the lateral hypothalamic area—can spur weight loss even if calorie intake stays the identical.

The brand new study marks the first time that deep mind stimulation has been tried in that mind area. Halpern, who has accomplished animal analysis exploring the concept of utilizing deep mind stimulation for obesity. The three patients in Whiting’s examine were examples of that medical want. All have been severely obese and had did not shed weight after gastric bypass surgery—the current last-ditch therapy possibility.

During the examine interval, the patients did have some unintended effects from deep brain stimulation—nausea, anxiety and feeling “too hot or flushed”—but they had been short-lived, the researchers mentioned. And there was some proof that the brain stimulation was having effects. In lab tests, Whiting’s workforce found that the deep mind stimulation seemed to spur short-lived spikes in resting metabolism. Whiting stated. Now a key query is, what is the right setting for the deep mind stimulation to encourage lasting weight loss?

Whiting stated his group is continuous to observe these three patients to attempt to determine that out—and to maintain monitoring safety. Although deep mind stimulation is taken into account a usually safe therapy for the precise patients, it’s a major undertaking that requires two surgeries—one to implant electrodes within the mind and one other to position the neurostimulator. The potential dangers embrace infection, a blood clot or bleeding in the brain, or an allergic reaction to the DBS components. If deep mind stimulation ever does grow to be an choice for managing severe obesity, Whiting stated, he would count on it solely to be used when all else fails. Medtronic supplied the deep brain stimulation hardware for the study and funded the work. Certainly one of Whiting’s co-researchers is employed by the company.

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