Neuroimaging: A New Approach to Eating Disorders?

Diagram from ScienceNews.org

To treat eating disorders or even obesity, scientists have been turning to neuroimaging–scans of the brain–to teach patients how to understand the path between mind and stomach.

In a 2015 study, scientists used neuroimaging to identify what they called “biological markers” or “neural vulnerabilities” in the brains of patients with eating disorders or obesity. In this study they presented real-time functional MRI (rtfMRI) as “powerful tool to better understand the complexity of human brain-behavior relationships.”

From our understanding, doctors could use rtfMRI as a type of cognitive therapy, pointing out brain function in reward centers of the brain and then working with¬†patients to alter learned eating behaviors and “restore healthy cognition” when it comes to food.

More recently, an upcoming review from the University of Birmingham (UK) suggests that neuroimaging, along with an intranasal administration of insulin and oxytocin, may work to help patients combat obesity and weight gain.

The fact that doctors could use MRI to train your brain into a healthier relationship with food is so cool. Way to go, science!

Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Mental Health Solutions, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. If you would like to discuss the information in this blog further with her, please call 208-918-0958. She sees adolescents and adults. Information in this blog is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider about decisions regarding your health.

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