Cognitive remediation-enabled cognitive behaviour therapy for obesity: a case series.

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Journal Article
Eating and weight disorders : EWD, 2021, 26, (1), pp. 103-114
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PURPOSE:Despite varied treatment effects, weight recidivism is common and typically associated with the abandonment of prescribed weight management strategies. Literature suggests that difficulty with weight management is associated with deficits in executive functioning, in particular cognitive flexibility and response inhibition, the neurocognitive processes that are involved in goal-directed behaviours, such as dietary adherence. These processes are overlooked by mainstream weight loss programmes. The aim of the study was to assess the effectiveness of a cognitive remediation-enabled cognitive behaviour therapy (CR-CBT) in addressing the neurocognitive, psychological and behavioural correlates of weight loss. It was hypothesised that CR-CBT would improve cognitive flexibility and response inhibition, reduce binge eating, aid weight loss and improve metabolic health. METHODS:Four adults with obesity (body mass index > 30 kg/m2) received 7 weeks of manualised CR-CBT and were assessed via a case series analysis at baseline, end of treatment and 3-month follow-up. Treatment included 3 weekly 90-min group-based behaviour weight loss sessions for 3 weeks, followed by twice-weekly 50-min individualised CR-CBT sessions for 4 weeks. RESULTS:Cognitive remediation-enabled cognitive behaviour therapy produced improvements in response inhibition and cognitive flexibility, and reductions in binge eating frequency, weight, and metabolic health readings between baseline and 3-month follow-up. CONCLUSIONS:This is the first study to assess the effectiveness of CR-CBT in the treatment of obesity. Preliminary indications of treatment success are discussed with respect to study limitations. In light of these results, we recommend further investigation via a randomised control trial (RCT). LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:Level IV, case series.
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