Researchers from the University of Toronto in Canada claimed that deep brain stimulation with the aid of electrodes could be an effective treatment for anorexia nervosa.
Otherwise known as electrode therapy, the surgical procedure involved implanted electrodes in the brains of patients. The researchers then sought to observe the brain scans of patients over 12 months, finding clues how certain parts of the brain linked to anorexia interact with the emotions that cause the disorder.
The study observed 16 women between 21 and 57 years old who have been suffering from the illness for 18 years on average.
Nir Lipsman, the study’s lead author, said that they decided to observe patients with the most severe form of anorexia and the most resistant to treatment as well. These patients only had an average body mass index of 13.8, significantly lower than the standard range between 18.5 and 24.9.
By using deep brain stimulation to determine their cause, Lipsman believes that electrode therapy can identify specific parts of the brain that trigger certain emotions causing anorexia nervosa.
Deep brain stimulation is still a novel concept in treating eating disorders that its efficiency remains to be seen. Lipsman noted that the use of electrode therapy would require further research to make it safe for afflicted people.
Among other alternative options include cognitive behavioral therapy and outpatient services. Since anorexia usually manifests itself through different symptoms, the form of treatment will vary for each patient.
Eating disorders affect millions of people around the world. In the U.S. alone, 24 million people are affected, and that number only comprises adults. Teenagers, especially women, are more prone to this illness.
Fortunately, modern science has come a long way in treating certain eating disorders, so people with anorexia should believe that they will get better with the right support system and treatment.