Diet and Weight Loss News

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) the latest approach to tackling obesity

Written By Betty van der Mark on Sunday, August 9, 2009 | 3:52 AM

The new approach is being tested in a U.S. Government-approved trial, which is running for three years. Basically it works by making the patient feel full. During the procedure, patients first have holes drilled into their skull. The electrodes are then implanted - these are attached to wires, which are fed across the surface of the brain and under the skin to a small battery implanted under the collarbone. The operation is performed under local anaesthetic so that surgeons can place the electrodes in the right place, guided by the patient's reactions. The patient is asked whether or not they feel full in order to position the electrodes correctly.
So far, two patients have had the operation, and early indications are 'promising', with both eating less and losing weight.

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The surgery was performed by Dr Donald Whiting, a neurosurgeon at West Virginia University Hospital. Dr Whiting admits it is a drastic procedure - 'but obesity is a drastic problem'.
He adds: 'There is a risk of stroke and death from this operation, but this is slight. These patients are probably at greater risk of heart attack and stroke from being obese.'
Only patients who've tried every other treatment, including gastric surgery (such as a gastric band or bypass), are considered for DBS. But Dr Whiting believes the new approach makes greater sense than other surgery.

Source: DailyMail