Potential role of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation in obesity

  • Rami Bou KhalilEmail author
  • Charline El Hachem
Brief Report



Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is a non-invasive technique with mild side effects. Some forms of obesity may arise from eating disorders and recent data suggest that rTMS treatment could have beneficial effects in eating disorders.


The purpose of this comprehensive review is to hypothesize that rTMS may play a role in obesity.

Materials and methods

Articles were selected based on a search on medline using the terms “rTMS”, “food craving”, “eating disorders”, “addiction”, and “obesity”. They were published between 1995 and 2013.


Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation has been evaluated in the treatment of bulimia nervosa. It appears that it exerts its effect via the reduction of the level of craving for food. Obesity is being recognized as one of the endpoints of food addiction and craving. Besides, rTMS and transcranial direct current stimulation are brain stimulation techniques being used in the treatment of psychoactive substance addiction.


Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, through the reduction of food craving may be a potential treatment for a subset of individuals suffering from obesity. Further studies with a higher number of subjects are still needed to confirm the effects of rTMS on obesity.


Obesity Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation Craving Bulimia nervosa Eating disorders 


Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychiatric Hospital of the CrossJalledibLebanon
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatrySaint Joseph UniversityBeirutLebanon

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