Lose weight with tDCS?

8 Sep

An article in Newsweek reports on a yet unpublished study of transcranial direct current brain stimulation:

“A different piece of yet to be published research suggests that the slimming effects of brain stimulation are really about the fact that it increases our willpower—our ability to resist temptation—and not so much about suppressing appetite specifically.”

Since the research has not been published we should reserve judgment at this time. However, I was able to find the abstract:

“Food craving can be defined as the “urge to eat a specific food”. Previous findings suggest impairment of inhibitory control, specifically a regulatory deficit in the lateral prefrontal circuitry that is associated with a compulsion for food. As demonstrated by three previous studies, bilateral transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) (anode right/cathode left) reduces food craving and caloric intake. We designed the present study to evaluate the neural mechanisms that underlie these effects. We replicated the design of one of these previous studies but included electroencephalographic assessments to register evoked potentials in a Go/No-go task that contained pictures of food and furniture (a control visual stimulus). We collected data from nine women (mean age = 23.4 ± 2 years) in a crossover experiment. We observed that active DLPFC tDCS (anode right/cathode left), compared with sham stimulation, reduced the frontal N2 component and enhanced the P3a component of responses to No-go stimuli, regardless of the stimulus condition (food or furniture). Active tDCS was also associated with a reduction in caloric intake. We discuss our findings in the context of cortico-subcortical processing of craving and tDCS effects on inhibitory control neural circuitry.”



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