Neuromodulation and Eating Disorders [Review]

SOURCE: Current Psychiatry Reports. 24(1):61-69, 2022 01.

AUTHORS: Gallop L; Flynn M; Campbell IC; Schmidt U

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: We review recent evidence on the use of neuromodulation for treating eating disorders (EDs), including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder. We evaluate studies on (a) modern non-invasive methods of brain stimulation, such as transcranial magnetic
stimulation (rTMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), (b) electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and (c) more invasive techniques, including deep brain stimulation (DBS).

RECENT FINDINGS: Most reports on the clinical applications of neuromodulation in EDs are limited to case studies, case series and small clinical trials. The majority have focused on severe, enduring and
hard-to-treat cases of AN. In this population, data suggest that both rTMS and DBS have therapeutic potential and are safe and acceptable. High-quality clinical trials in different ED populations are needed which investigate different stimulation methods, sites and parameters, the use of neuromodulation as stand-alone and/or adjunctive treatment, as well as the mechanisms of action.