Woman Seeks Surgery to Treat Anorexia

b2ap3_thumbnail_anorexia-brain.jpgA woman has turned her life around and conquered the eating disorder that plagued her life for almost 20 years by undergoing a revolutionary method of surgery that saw doctors "rewire" her brain.


Kim Rollins, 36, had suffered many years of torment due to anorexia nervosa that had left her critically ill - causing her to have a heart attack, two strokes and broken bones since she developed the illness in her teens.

The Ontario, Canada, resident was asked to take part in a study by medical experts who were looking to discover whether or not a technique known as deep brain stimulation could be used to help patients living with similar illnesses, reports the Daily Mail.

As part of the surgery, scientists set out to block abnormal nerve signals that trigger anorexic thoughts.

Medical professionals from the Krembil Neuroscience Centre Health Network in Canada carried out this process, which has also been used for people with obsessive compulsive disorder, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease.

It represented the first time researchers have implanted the device into the brains of individuals with such severe cases of anorexia.

The implant is connected to a battery under the skin in the patient's chest or abdomen to generate a small electrical signal to stimulate the brain.

Therefore, when the device is activated, the abnormal nerve signals triggering the symptoms of the illness are blocked, thus reinforcing positive responses to food.

Commenting on her experiences, Ms Rollins said: "My health had been deteriorating for years because of malnutrition and it got to the point where I was either going to die, or give the surgery a shot. My family was terrified.

"Before, the thought alone of eating a chocolate and crisps made me ill. Now, I can eat these things without feeling guilty and I enjoy eating snacks.

"That's not to say I am turning into a chocoholic - and I'm careful about not overindulging - but having the freedom to have a chocolate treat or a bag of crisps is marvellous."

The 36-year-old said being "warped" with anorexic thoughts from a young age meant she lost touch of what kind of foods to eat, while healthy and unhealthy options lost all meaning to her.

Following the surgery, she has set out to return to university for a Masters degree in political science, claiming she is determined to make up for the opportunities she missed out on due to her battle with anorexia nervosa.

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