At some point in life, 4% of women faces anorexia problem. For example, now this disease is overcome by the 40-year-old actress Angelina Jolie, whose weight has reached a critical minimum-35 kilograms. It is known that psychotherapy helps only one third of patients. Are there any other ways to get rid of a deadly ailment?

Premature from the disease 20% of patients with anorexia dies, and this is the highest mortality rate among all patients with mental disorders. Since psychotherapy cures no more than 10-30% of patients, and drugs are most often ineffective at all, psychiatrists decided to test the methods of treatment that affect the neurobiological foundations of disorder.

One of the promising methods is the so -called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) – a non -invasive method based on the external stimulation of individual areas of the brain with magnetic fields. TMS, in particular, is used as an experimental method of treatment of depression.

Jessica McClelland from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuronaua of the Royal College of London (Great Britain) and its colleagues conducted a study during which they studied the effectiveness of one of the TMS types. 49 patients divided into two groups participated in the experiment, one of which took place a real procedure, and the other – its imitation (placebo). The severity of the symptoms of anorexia was measured directly before and after the procedure, as well as 20 minutes and 24 hours after its end.

Before and after the TMS session, patients watched a two -minute video that was supposed to provoke anorexia symptoms. The heroes of this video ate chocolate and chips, and the same products lay next to the participants who were supposed to appreciate their taste, smell, appearance and their desire to eat them. Patients also passed tests for self -control and decision -making, during which they were offered a choice: get a small amount of money right now or wait a certain period of time (from two weeks to two years) and guaranteed to get a larger amount.

As it turned out, the patients who took the real TMS session made decisions less impulsively and more rationally, more often agreeing to wait for the sake of greater benefit. They also reduced the obsessive desire to limit food consumption and the false beliefs were less pronounced that they did not want to eat and suffer excess weight. The positive effect was preserved and 24 hours after the procedure.

“The longer the disease lasts, the more changes at the level of the brain are fixed, making the treatment difficult. It is extremely important to find more effective methods of therapy for this disorder, and our preliminary results show the high potential of the TMS for the treatment of anorexia. In the near future, we plan to check the long -term effectiveness of the method by conducting a study with not one, but with 20 TMS sessions and observing the condition of patients longer, ”says one of the authors of the study by Ulrike Schmidt.

For more details see. J. McClelland et al. “A RANDOMISED CONTROLLLLED TRIAL of Neuronavigated Repetition Transcrangal Magnetic Stimulation (RTMS) in Anorexia Nervosa”, Plos One, March 2016.

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