Pilot study of responsive nucleus accumbens deep brain stimulation for loss-of-control eating

Nat Med. 2022 Sep;28(9):1791-1796. doi: 10.1038/s41591-022-01941-w. Epub 2022 Aug 29.


Cravings that precede loss of control (LOC) over food consumption present an opportunity for intervention in patients with the binge eating disorder (BED). In this pilot study, we used responsive deep brain stimulation (DBS) to record nucleus accumbens (NAc) electrophysiology during food cravings preceding LOC eating in two patients with BED and severe obesity (trial registration no. NCT03868670). Increased NAc low-frequency oscillations, prominent during food cravings, were used to guide DBS delivery. Over 6 months, we observed improved self-control of food intake and weight loss. These findings provide early support for restoring inhibitory control with electrophysiologically-guided NAc DBS. Further work with increased sample sizes is required to determine the scalability of this approach.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Deep Brain Stimulation*
  • Eating
  • Humans
  • Nucleus Accumbens
  • Obesity, Morbid*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Synaptic Transmission

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03868670