Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation in anorexia nervosa: a pilot study

Eur Psychiatry. 2013 Feb;28(2):98-101. doi: 10.1016/j.eurpsy.2011.06.002. Epub 2011 Aug 30.


The search for new treatments to improve outcome in people with anorexia nervosa continues. This pilot study investigated whether one session of high frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) delivered to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex reduces eating disorder related symptoms following exposure to visual and real food stimuli. Safety and tolerability were also assessed. Ten right-handed people with anorexia nervosa underwent one session of rTMS. Subjective experiences related to the eating disorder (e.g. urge to restrict, feeling full etc.) were assessed before and after rTMS. Non-parametric repeated measures tests were used. rTMS was safe and well-tolerated, and resulted in reduced levels of feeling full, feeling fat and feeling anxious. Thus, rTMS may reduce core symptoms of anorexia nervosa. Future research should establish the therapeutic potential of rTMS in anorexia nervosa.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect / physiology
  • Anorexia Nervosa / physiopathology
  • Anorexia Nervosa / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiopathology*
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome