Near infrared spectroscopy neurofeedback for binge-eating disorder and obesity (NIRSBED) (Prof. Dr. Anja Hilbert)

Individuals with binge-eating disorder (BED), a highly prevalent condition in treatment-seeking individuals with obesity, exhibit recurrent binge eating and pronounced difficulty in the long-term maintenance of weight loss after behavioral weight loss (BWL) treatment. These difficulties are likely related to impairments in self-regulation, including a heightened reactivity to food, reduced inhibitory control, and increased reward sensitivity, which is reflected in differential neurophysiological activation in response to food cues in areas related to inhibitory control and reward. Addressing these underlying neurobehavioral difficulties could alleviate binge-eating symptomatology and enhance weight loss maintenance (WLM).

Neurofeedback, a form of biofeedback, provides a training for voluntary regulation of brain activity using real-time feedback via a brain-computer interface. Increasing evidence demonstrates the efficacy of electroencephalography (EEG) neurofeedback in improving self-regulation in mental disorders comorbid to BED and obesity such as attention deficit-/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Initial evidence in subclinical eating disturbances and BED suggests that EEG neurofeedback can reduce binge-eating symptomatology and improve food-related self-regulation. Among neuroimaging approaches evaluated in proof-of-concept studies, neurofeedback based on functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) could represent a neuroimaging-based option with higher resolution for targeting specific relevant brain areas, simultaneously offering disseminability into clinical practice. The goal of this study is to evaluate feasibility and efficacy of food-related fNIRS neurofeedback in N=80 individuals with BED having undergone BWL treatment at the IFB Outpatient Unit. Specifically, fNIRS neurofeedback will be compared with fNIRS contingent sham neurofeedback, EEG neurofeedback, and delayed treatment control.

Duration: 01.11.2017 – 30.04.2020


Head of project

Prof. Dr. Anja Hilbert

IFB-Professorship "Behavioral medicine"
Member: board of directors, internal board
Head of project

+49 341 97-15361 and -15360

anja [dot] hilbert [at] medizin [dot] uni-leipzig [dot] de