Neuromodulation and neurofeedback treatments in eating disorders and obesity
As the neurobiological understanding of eating disorders has evolved in recent years, nontraditional treatments involving neurofeedback have been developed. Extreme differences among eating disorders, ranging from severe food restriction to binge eating, may result from differences in one’s neurobiological make-up. Increased understanding of these differences has informed the development of these novel treatments involving neurofeedback. Dalton et al.’s (2017) literature review summarizes the existing researching investigating the efficacy of neurofeedback training, along with other neuromodulation interventions, in the treatment of various eating disorders.
Neurofeedback training as an intervention for eating disorders has been explored in two randomized controlled trials. In adolescents with anorexia, twice weekly neurofeedback sessions for five weeks (i.e. 10 total sessions) produced significant effects in eating behavior and emotional regulation. In another study, adults with subclinical binge eating participated in ten neurofeedback sessions over six weeks. Neurofeedback training led to reduced binge eating and distress at posttreatment and maintained these reductions three months later at follow up. The combination of neuroimaging and neurofeedback in several other studies have indicated the likelihood of being able to discover more neurobiological information involving eating disorders, which will continue to develop the neurological perspective of their treatment.