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Brain Stimulation Helps Battle Obesity

The battle of the bulge has been raging for decades. Scientists constantly look for ways to help obese people return to a healthy weight. You’re probably aware of a multitude of surgeries available, diets, prescriptions and other so-called solutions to the problem, but nothing has slowed the growing epidemic.

A new study suggests that electromagnetic brain stimulation technology, deep transcranial magnetic stimulation, or dTMS, is a promising and noninvasive way to help overweight people lose weight by altering their gut microbiota. A person’s intestinal microbiota, or bacteria living in the gut, has been linked with their overall health or lack thereof. Obese people have been found to have a microorganism imbalance meaning they have few beneficial microorganisms and many harmful ones in their intestines.

Intestinal microbiota is determined by diet, genetics and other factors. Microbiota can be impaired or altered by bacterial infections, antibiotic treatments, lifestyle and long-term diet changes. Impairment of microbiota causes problems including altering the brain’s signals for appetite, hence obesity.

Livio Luzi, M.D., head of endocrinology and professor at the IRCCS Policlinico San Donato and the University of Milan in Italy conducted research on 14 obese patients to see if dTMS would improve their gut microbiota composition. The subjects who underwent the dTMS treatment had an electromagnetic coil placed on their scalps. Magnetic pulses were sent into deep regions of their brains.

After five weeks of treatment, the dTMS subjects lost more than 3 percent of their weight and 4 percent of their fat. In fecal analysis, the dTMS subjects also had significantly increased levels of beneficial gut bacteria whereas the control group didn’t. Luzi concluded that dTMS treatment could clearly have a profound impact on obesity through gut-brain axis alterations.

The number of additional calories you’ll consume if you eat a cup of raisins instead of a cup of grapes. Raisins clock in at 299 calories per cup and grapes at a paltry 67. Snack smart!

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