Electrodes in brain to target anorexia

A British woman has had electrodes placed deep inside her brain in an experimental operation to help cure her of anorexia. She had wires carrying electricity connected to parts of her brain that register her feeling of reward when she eats.

Experts say the signals are designed to trigger a change in the way the patient feels about food, helping them to eat more and overcome their condition.

Professor Tipu Aziz, professor of neurosurgery based at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, said the study is in its early stages.

However, if successful, he said it could transform the way patients with anorexia and other eating disorders are treated, and save lives.

He said: “Anorexics have a 40 times higher mortality rate compared to the normal population and people forget that. Otherwise healthy people, mostly girls, die of this disease.”

Prof Aziz said that “food becomes a very painful object” for anorexics and the part of the brain that makes people enjoy eating does not work in the same way.

He added: “This is a very preliminary study to show that if you put electrodes in the right place you can alter people’s reaction to food.

Around 1.6 million people in the UK are affected by an eating disorder and 89% of them are female, according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

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