• A brain transplant reduced two patients’ binge eating for at least six months.
  • The two women said their attitude toward food had changed almost without realizing it.
  • More research is needed, but these early results are promising, said one study author.

Electric shocks to the brain can suppress cravings in two patients with binge eating disorder for at least six months, according to a small study.

Two of the patients had brain implants installed to depolarize the part of the brain associated with cravings.

They told him. New York Times After the surgery, they made better choices without thinking about food.

The technique needs to be tested on more patients to make sure it works. But there may be hope. Millions of people struggle with overeating.

He will no longer be a ‘wish man’

The study, It was published in August in the peer-reviewed journal Natural Medicine It is mainly intended to check whether the device is safe to use.

But the effect on the study subjects was “remarkable and exciting,” said the study’s senior author, Casey Halpern, assistant professor of neurosurgery at Penn Medicine. In a press release issued with the study.

Two of the patients — Robin Baldwin, 58, and Lena Tolley, 48 — reported fewer binge episodes. And transplants seem to have changed their habits for the better, says The Times.

For example, Baldwin said she used to swing by Ben and Jerry’s on her way to the pharmacy. But after the device was activated, she said, “I walk into the pharmacy and don’t even think about ice cream.”

The implant even seems to modulate women’s food preferences.

Baldwin says she used to crave sweet foods but now prefers sweet foods. Tolly sometimes finds herself eating peanut butter straight from the jar. Now she doesn’t want to, the Times reported.

“It’s not like I never think about food,” Baldwin said. “But I’m not a wishful thinking person anymore.”

Obesity requires a new treatment

Both obese women said they had tried many methods to combat their weight in the past.

Both tried extreme diets and underwent surgery on their intestines, a procedure called bariatric surgery by The Times. But the weight was coming back.

This is not normal for people who are overweight. Studies show that obesity is a disease. This makes it very difficult for patients to keep the pounds off.

A growing body of research is trying to find these treatments. Don’t rely on whims.

The idea of ​​targeting brain waves to fight cravings was attractive; Elon Musk recently claimed that his Neuralink brain implant could one day treat obesity.

Past research It has been suggested that a small part of the brain, the hypothalamus, sends brain waves before a person feels desire.

The implant used in the study learned to detect those brain waves and use electricity to scratch them in that area, which appears to shorten the urge.

The study followed the patients for six months. No serious side effects were reported, but the patient lost more than 11 pounds each, according to the press release.

According to the release, one of the patients did not fit the criteria for having a binge eating disorder.

More research is needed

You cannot get this implant at your doctor’s office. In just two patients, the scientists could not definitively prove that the implant was the cause of the weight loss.

For example, there may be a placebo effect from the surgery or the effect diminishes over time.

The researchers want to do a more extensive study to make sure this isn’t the case. These typically recruit hundreds of patients and have built-in procedures for testing placebo effects.

For now, the study will continue to follow Tolley and Baldwin for six months and recruit four more patients.

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