A burger is seen in a restaurant. Burgers are common in food cravings.

A brain implant reduced two patients’ binge eating for at least six months. 
The two women said their behavior towards food changed almost without thinking about it. 
More research is needed, but these early results are promising, a study author said.

Electric shocks to the brain took away the cravings of two patients with binge eating disorder for at least six months, a small study said. 

The two patients were fitted with a brain implant to zap the part of the brain linked to cravings.

They told The New York Times that after the surgery they made better choices about food without even thinking about it.

The technique needs to be tested on more patients to check whether it works for sure. But it could offer hope for millions of people who struggle with binge eating.

No longer a ‘craving person’

The study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Medicine in August, was mainly meant to test whether the device was safe to use.

But the effect on the subjects of the study was “really impressive and exciting,” said study senior author Casey Halpern, an associate professor of neurosurgery at Penn Medicine, in a press release accompanying the study. 

The two patients — Robyn Baldwin, 58, and Lena Tolly, 48 — said that they had fewer binging episodes. And the implant seems to have changed their habits for the better, per The Times.

Baldwin, for instance, said she’d gotten used to swinging by a Ben & Jerry’s on her way to the pharmacy. But after the device was activated, she said:  “I could go into the pharmacy and not even think about ice cream.”

The implant seems even to have tweaked the women’s food preferences. 

Baldwin said she used to crave sweet foods but now preferred savory ones. Tolly would sometimes find herself eating peanut butter straight from the jar. Now she doesn’t crave it, the Times reported. 

“It’s not like I don’t think about food at all,” Baldwin said. “But I’m no longer a craving person.”

Obesity needs innovative treatments

Both women, who have obesity, said that they had tried many ways to fight their weight gain before.

Both had tried extreme dieting and had surgery on their gut, a procedure called bariatric surgery, per The Times. But the weight kept coming back.

This is not uncommon for people with obesity. Research suggests that obesity is a disease …read more

Source:: Business Insider


2 women stopped binge eating after an implant started zapping their brains with electricity, a small study found

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