Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Deep Brain Stimulation to Treat Obesity?

Date:
August 20, 2012
Source:
Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Summary:
Scientific advances in understanding the "addiction circuitry" of the brain may lead to effective treatment for obesity using deep brain stimulation (DBS), according to a review article.

Scientific advances in understanding the "addiction circuitry" of the brain may lead to effective treatment for obesity using deep brain stimulation (DBS), according to a review article in the August issue of Neurosurgery, official journal of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

Electrical brain stimulation targeting the "dysregulated reward circuitry" could make DBS -- already an accepted treatment for Parkinson's disease -- a new option for the difficult-to-treat problem of obesity. Dr. Alexander Taghva of Ohio State University and University of Southern California was lead author of the new review.

New Insights into 'Reward Circuitry'

Obesity is a major public health problem that is notoriously difficult to treat. Although various approaches can promote weight loss, patients typically gain weight soon after the end of treatment. Drug options have shown limited success, with several products removed from the market because of serious adverse effects. Bariatric surgery is effective in many cases of obesity but has a significant failure rate and is associated with side effects.

Drug treatments for obesity have targeted the homeostatic (self-regulating) mechanism regulating appetite and body weight. The homeostatic mechanism is thought to involve the "feeding center" in the hypothalamus, which produces hormones (such as leptin and insulin) that affect feeding behavior.

Initial experiments exploring DBS as a treatment for obesity have targeted the hypothalamus. However -- as with drug options focusing on the homeostatic mechanisms -- success has been limited.

Possible Role of DBS for Obesity

More recent studies have explored a different mechanism: specifically, the "reward circuitry," of the brain. Research has suggested that obesity is associated with a "relative imbalance" of the reward circuitry. Studies show that obese subjects -- like those with addictive behaviors -- are more impulsive and less able to delay gratification. The reward circuitry is intimately interconnected with the homeostatic mechanisms.

Together, these studies raise the possibility of new DBS approaches to the treatment of obesity. In DBS, a small electrode is surgically placed in a precise location in the brain. A mild electrical current is delivered to stimulate that area of the brain, with the goal of interrupting abnormal activity. Deep brain stimulation has become a standard and effective treatment for movement disorders such as Parkinson's disease.

Just as stimulation of the brain areas responsible for abnormal movement helps "turn off" tremors in patients with Parkinson's disease, stimulation of the areas involved in dysregulated reward circuitry might be able to "turn off" abnormal feeding behaviors in obese patients. The authors outline evidence implicating several different brain areas involved in the brain's reward circuitry -- particularly the "frontostriatal circuitry" -- which could be useful targets for DBS.

Previous reports in individual patients have suggested that DBS performed for other reasons -- particularly severe obsessive-compulsive disorder -- have unexpectedly had unpredicted beneficial effects on addictive behaviors like smoking and overeating. Dr. Taghva and colleagues hope their review will open the way to further exploration of DBS as part of new and effective strategies for the treatment of obesity, perhaps in combination with therapies targeting the homeostatic mechanism.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Alexander Taghva, John D. Corrigan, Ali R. Rezai. Obesity and Brain Addiction Circuitry. Neurosurgery, 2012; 71 (2): 224 DOI: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e31825972ab

Cite This Page:

Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. "Deep Brain Stimulation to Treat Obesity?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120820121052.htm>.
Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. (2012, August 20). Deep Brain Stimulation to Treat Obesity?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120820121052.htm
Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. "Deep Brain Stimulation to Treat Obesity?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120820121052.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 22, 2014) Big pharma on the move as Novartis boss, Joe Jimenez, tells Reuters about plans to transform his company via an asset exchange with GSK, and Astra Zeneca shares surge on speculation that Pfizer is looking for a takeover. Joanna Partridge reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is given hands-on demonstrations Tuesday of some of the newest research from DARPA _ the military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins