Background: Dysfunction of the prefrontal cortex is implicated in craving for drugs and food. This study explores the effect of prefrontal cortex stimulation on food craving.
Methods: In a randomized double-blind parallel group study, 28 women, who reported frequent cravings for food were exposed to foods that typically elicit strong cravings before and after a single session of real or sham 10-Hz repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex at an intensity of 110% individual motor threshold.
Results: Self-reported food craving during exposure to the experimental foods remained stable before and after real stimulation compared with sham stimulation in which cravings increased over the experimental session. Consumption of snack foods within a 5-min period after stimulation did not differ between groups.
Conclusions: Prefrontal stimulation inhibits the development of craving. A longer period of observation is necessary to establish whether there is an effect on food consumption.