Pittsburgh, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, USA
20 April 2012
This pilot study seeks to apply recent advances in cognitive neuroscience technology to the problem of obesity in order to strengthen previous findings in addition to evaluating a novel treatment approach. We will integrate several state-of-the-art technologies in order to explore a new approach to understanding and controlling food consumption in the veteran population. First, we will use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to compare maps of brain activation by food-related cues presented during a 36-hour bland diet in two groups of individuals: Lean and Obese. We hope to replicate previous findings which suggest that obese and lean population’s exhibit differential activation in brain areas related to craving. Second, we will test whether inhibitory Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) targeted to individually-specific brain areas activated by food cues can curb food cravings and post-stimulation food consumption. As a pilot study the project’s scope is limited to establishing feasibility and to providing effect size estimates for future definitive studies. However, if our hypothesis is supported and there is a decrease in cravings and food consuming behaviors after one session of Deep TMS, we would then proceed to larger investigations using repeated sessions of rTMS aimed at longer-term decreases in food consumption and weight loss.
Contact: Steven Forman, MD, Ph.D tel: 412-954-4100 Steven.Forman@va.gov
Principal Investigator: Steven Forman, MD, Ph.D