A team of physicians from the King’s College of London has successfully tested a new therapy for anorexia nervosa. If the results are validated, then the new treatment, which assumes deep brain stimulation, could reduce the symptoms felt by those suffering from this eating disorder.
Anorexia nervosa, commonly known as anorexia is dubbed an eating disorder. Patients who are suffering from this eating disorder, typically have a distorted image of the relationship between body weight and self-esteem.
Patients with anorexia, tend to reduce food intake and exercise excessively to keep in shape and to stay fit. Usually, this means restricted the food intake and ignoring the hunger signals.
Those suffering from this condition will often think that they’ve consumed too much food, and, as a result, they will try to control any calorie intake by taking laxatives, diuretics and inducing vomiting. Anorexic patients struggle with low body weight, as opposed to those suffering from bulimia.
According to this new performed by the King’s College of London, approximately 20 percent of patients with anorexia nervosa will die, as a result of the low body mass. Unfortunately, only 20 to 30 percent of adults fully recover from this disease.
Anorexia nervosa has two sets of symptoms: the first set addressed the physical symptoms which anorexic patients can experience while the second refers to the emotional side. Physical symptoms include dizziness, constipation, weight loss, below normal blood count, fatigue, low blood pressure, dehydration and osteoporosis.
The emotional symptoms include restricting food intake, refusal to eat, constantly thinking about food, irritability, social isolation, depressed mood and thoughts of suicide.
But the new therapy developed by the King’s College of London might help the patients get over their food restrictions. Moreover, the treatment might also assist them to seem beyond their body weight issue.
Dubbed rTMS or repetitive transcranial stimulation, the method was successfully tested in clinical depression cases. Jessica McClelland, the leading author of the study, declared that the experiment’s results are indeed encouraging.
The technique targets a particular area of the brain called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. This brain region is thought to be related to anorexia. According to the team, the patients treated with rTMS will receive one or more session of magnetic therapy. More specifically, low-intensity magnetic pulses will be delivered in those specific areas in order to stimulate the area attributed to food restrictions.
The device was also tested on 49 human patients. Following food exposure and decision-making therapies, the participants were split into two group: the first group received a real rTMS treatment while the other received a bogus treatment.
According to their results, the team discovered that the patients treated with rTMS therapy weren’t so hasty in making decisions.