Sunday, November 20, 2022

Brain Stimulation Could Limit the Impulse to Binge Eat


Binge-eating disorder is a major eating disorder in which you habitually consume an abnormal amount of food and feel unable to stop. It is very common to overeat on occasion, but for some, it feels out of control and becomes a regular occurrence. Symptoms associated with the binge-eating disorder include eating rapidly during binge episodes, when you're full or not hungry, alone, and feeling depressed and guilty about your eating.  This disorder may be caused by family history, a past of dieting, and psychological issues such as stress and poor body self-image. There are various psychiatric disorders that relate to a binge-eating disorder such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and substance use disorders. 

Plenty of medications and cognitive therapies are available to treat binge-eating disorders, but a recent research study has found that deep brain stimulation, used for people with Parkinson's disease, can limit the urge to overeat.  This is, a person who lives with a psychiatric diagnosis like bing-eating disorder may be no more culpable for overeating than a patient with Parkinson's disease is for their tremors. The researchers recorded electrical impulses in a binge-eating patient's nucleus accumbus, a key hub of the brain's reward center, as they ate. It was determined that neurons were firing just before the binge and that these electrical impulses were correlated with the patient's loss of control.  When electrodes were placed in the patient's brains, they regulated aberrant signals, and they no longer felt the uncontrollable eating urges. 

A common medication for a binge-eating disorder is Vyvanse, which alters the balance of chemicals in your brain and increases norepinephrine and dopamine levels. Although, this medication has many side effects that can also increase the severity of this disorder. In addition, the patient may become dependent on the pill and take it in larger amounts than recommended. In so, I think that using a device to regulate aberrant signals in the brain is a much more innovative way to treat patients. The device is simply placed under the scalp, which is invisible to the naked eye and the patient can use it as required until they feel in control of their eating. 

1 comment:

  1. This was very interesting to read! I think this would be beneficial to so many people. I wouldn't have thought they would be able to treat binge eating disorder this way.