Current Addiction Reports

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 266–272 | Cite as

Brain Stimulation as a Method for Understanding, Treating, and Preventing Disorders of Indulgent Food Consumption

  • Peter A. HallEmail author
Food Addiction (A Meule, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Food Addiction


Purpose of Review

This review is intended to describe the role of brain stimulation in knowledge generation, treatment, and prevention of clinical disorders of indulgent eating (e.g., obesity, bulimia, binge eating).

Recent Findings

Although both invasive and non-invasive variants of brain stimulation have been evaluated as treatments for disorders of indulgent eating, only non-invasive variants have been studied extensively. Among these, both repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and transcranial electrical stimulation (tES) have been evaluated in randomized trials; recent findings for both have been promising, but particularly so for a highly efficient variant of rTMS called theta burst stimulation. Laboratory experimental use of brain stimulation continues to provide important foundational knowledge to guide refinements of clinical treatments and—perhaps less intuitively—preventative efforts on the population level.


Brain stimulation methods show promise in treating several disorders of indulgent eating, although more randomized trials are required. Continued refinements to stimulation methods will yield important new knowledge in the service of both healthcare system-friendly treatment options and population-level preventative efforts.


Brain rTMS Obesity Bulimia Eating disorders Binge eating 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The author declares no conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Prevention Neuroscience Laboratory, School of Public Health and Health SystemsUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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