Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have found that deep brain stimulation (DBS) in a certain area of the brain reduces calorie intake and prompts weight loss in obese animals.
Their study, reported in the Journal of Neuroscience, found that mice receiving the stimulation to a region of the brain reward center known to be involved in addictive behaviors ate significantly less of the high fat food compared to mice not receiving DBS. Following stimulation, they didn’t compensate for the loss of calories by eating more, but on days when the device was turned off, they resumed binge eating.
During four days of continuous stimulation, obese mice consumed fewer calories. Their body weight dropped and they showed improvement in their glucose sensitivity, which suggests a reversal of type 2 diabetes. Senior author Tracy Bale, PhD, said:
Based on this research, DBS may provide therapeutic relief to binge eating, a behavior commonly seen in obese humans, and frequently unresponsive to other approaches.