A recent NBC News article discussed an experimental procedure aimed at ending binge eating disorder. Two California residents, who failed to respond to other treatments for binge eating disorder, underwent an experimental brain procedure to help them cut back on cravings. The surgery involved implanting a device that learned to detect when the patient experienced a craving to binge eat, and delivered a small zap to the brain to combat the need to eat. The pacemaker-like device is implanted under the scalp and wired to the nucleus accumbens, the part of the brain responsible for how people experience reward and satisfaction.
This marks the first time deep brain stimulation has been used to treat binge eating disorder. The patients felt the change, and the ability to control their cravings almost immediately.