Tune In: Brain Surgery to Cure Obesity

On tonight’s episode of ABC’s Nightline, doctors will attempt to explain how deep brain stimulation, via the installation of electrodes, may be the next cure for obesity.

It sounds like voodoo, and it sounds painful, but for Carol Poe, the surgery was not as bad as spending the rest of her life as an obese woman would have been.

At her heaviest, Poe weighed more than 490 pounds, and she had tried every type of diet, including Atkins and risky Fen-Phen, and had even undergone bariatric surgery in an attempt to shed the pounds. Nothing proved to be successful long term, so Poe elected to become only the second person ever to undergo brain surgery for weight loss.

During this ground breaking surgery, electricity is introduced to specific parts of the brain that are believed to control specific behaviors; in Poe’s case, feelings of hunger and satisfaction.

“So what they’re going to do is … insert needles into the part of my brain that controls the food,” Poe, 60, said before the surgery. “And then they’ll put wires underneath my scalp, and it’ll go down on each side of my clavicle, [where] I’ll have a battery pack.”

Watch Nightline tonight, September 7, 2010, to see a new use for this amazing surgery, which has already proved successful in the treatment of neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.

Will it be successful? Is brain surgery the next cure for obesity? Tune in to find out.

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