Repetitive deep TMS for the reduction of body weight: Bimodal effect on the functional brain connectivity in"diabesity"
June 7, 2021
Citation: Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2021 Jun 7; 31(6): 1860-1870

BACKGROUND AND AIMS Deep repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (deep rTMS) over the bilateral insula and prefrontal cortex (PFC) can promote weight-loss in obesity, preventing cardiometabolic complications as Type 2 Diabetes (T2D). To investigate the changes in the functional brain integration after dTMS, we conducted a resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) study in obesity.
METHODS AND RESULTS This preliminary study was designed as a randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled study: 9 participants were treated with high-frequency stimulation (realTMS group), 8 were sham-treated (shamTMS group). Out of the 17 enrolled patients, 6 were affected by T2D. Resting-state fMRI scans were acquired at baseline (T0) and after the 5-week intervention (T1). Body weight was measured at three time points [T0, T1, 1-month follow-up visit (FU1)]. A mixed-model analysis showed a significant group-by-time interaction for body weight (p = .04), with a significant decrease (p < .001) in the realTMS group. The rsFC data revealed a significant increase of degree centrality for the realTMS group in the medial orbitofrontal cortex (mOFC) and a significant decrease in the occipital pole.
CONCLUSION An increase of whole-brain functional connections of the mOFC, together with the decrease of whole-brain functional connections with the occipital pole, may reflect a brain mechanism behind weight-loss through a diminished reactivity to bottom-up visual-sensory processes in favor of increased reliance on top-down decision-making processes.
TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03009695.