A Systematic Review on Neuromodulation Therapies for Reducing Body Weight in Patients with Obesity. [Review]

Source: Obesity Reviews. 22(10):e13309, 2021 10.

Authors: Gouveia FV; Silk E; Davidson B; Pople CB; Abrahao A; Hamilton J; Ibrahim GM; Muller DJ; Giacobbe P; Lipsman N; Hamani C

Abstract: The global prevalence of obesity increases yearly along with a rising demand for efficacious, safe, and accessible treatments. Neuromodulation interventions (i.e., deep brain stimulation [DBS], transcranial magnetic stimulation [TMS], transcranial direct current stimulation [tDCS], percutaneous neurostimulation [PENS], vagus nerve stimulation [VNS], and gastric electrical stimulation [GES]) have been proposed as novel therapies. This systematic review sought to examine the safety and efficacy of neuromodulation therapies in reducing body weight in patients with obesity. Using PRISMA guidelines, we performed a systematic review for studies on neuromodulation for the treatment of obesity, resulting in 60 trials included (7 DBS, 5 TMS, 7 tDCS, 17 PENS and VNS, and 24 GES; a total of 3,042 participants). While promising results have been reported in open label studies, double-blinded randomized clinical trials often did not reach their primary endpoints, with no technique inducing a striking reduction in body weight. Bearing in mind the complexity and multifactorial nature of obesity, it is possible that a single treatment may not be enough for patients to lose or maintain the weight lost at long term.