Background: The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) plays an important role in appetite and food intake regulation.
Objective: Because previous data revealed that transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) of the DLPFC reduces food cravings, we hypothesized that repetitive electric stimulation of the right DLPFC would lower food intake behavior in humans.
Design: In a single-blind, code-based, placebo-controlled, counterbalanced, randomized crossover experiment, 14 healthy young men with body mass index (in kg/m2) from 20 to 25 were examined during 8 d of daily tDCS or a sham stimulation. After tDCS or sham stimulation on the first and the last day of both experimental conditions, participants consumed food ad libitum from a standardized test buffet.
Results: One week of daily anodal tDCS reduced overall caloric intake by 14% in comparison with sham stimulation. Moreover, repetitive tDCS diminished self-reported appetite scores.
Conclusion: Our study implies that the application of anodal direct currents to the right DLPFC represents a promising option for reducing both caloric intake and appetite in humans.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)