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Also in the press

'Brain pacemaker' for anorexics; salt and MS; and doctors could veto faulty medical devices

Thursday, 07 March 2013


The Times (p9) and The Independent (p5) report on a 'brain pacemaker' which they say offers hope for anorexics.

The Independent says six patients with severe anorexia, lasting in one case more than 37 years, have shown improvement in their condition after being implanted with a 'brain pacemaker'. The patients, aged between 24 and 57, were treated at the Krembil Neuroscience Centre in Toronto.

It is the first time the treatment has been attempted in anorexia, which affects 1-2% of the population. Scientists inserted electrodes deep within their brains which were programmed to deliver tiny electrical impulses to stimulate eating and lift mood.

The electrodes were then connected to a 'pulse generator' or pacemaker, which was inserted under general anaesthetic under the skin near the collar bone. It was programmed to deliver regular impulses to the area of the brain known as the callosum cingulate, identified as a key area for treating depression.

After nine months, three of the patients had gained weight, two increased their body mass index by a third, from 15 to 20. No patient lost weight and most improved their quality of life.


The Daily Telegraph in a two-paragraph story reports that salt in the diet could cause multiple sclerosis.

Researchers reporting in Nature say salt can induce and worsen pathogenic immune system responses in mice. It adds that eating fast food could trigger a rise in inflammatory cells, which attack healthy tissues in autoimmune diseases.


Ministers have pledged to tighten the regulation of medical devices, such as hip and knee implants, The Daily Telegraph reports (p4).

It said that it disclosed last year that so-called "notified bodies" that regulate medical devices for sale throughout Europe, were prepared to license potentially dangerous devices.

Speaking in the UK's parliament on Wednesday evening, Norman Lamb, a health minister, said negotiations had begun to "overhaul" the European regulatory system.

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