Could A Pacemaker Help Cut Obesity?

May 6th, 2011
Could A Pacemaker Help Cut Obesity?

A new device developed in Germany that is fitted in the stomach could revolutionise the way doctors treat obesity.

Rather than going under the knife or having the stomach stapled, a pacemaker is inserted in the stomach which effectively curbs a person’s appetite. Once inserted the device send outs electrochemical signals which are aimed at tricking the stomach into thinking it is full. It kicks in a short time after an individual starts eating or drinking.

The new gadget was trialled recently on one obese sufferer in Munich in Germany. The mailman had apparently tried everything to lose weight bar stapling. He jumped at the chance at trying out the pacemaker. He shed nothing short of 22 pounds.

He told reporters: “It feels like a little pressure on my stomach or a tickle, but it’s not a bad feeling. It’s been like a little guide to help me change my life.”

The manufacturer of the new pacemaker, Intraspace is based in the US. So far, 65 people have been trialling it in 2 studies. Most lost around 20% of their weight, and more importantly kept it off.

The idea behind the pacemaker is not new, but in general previous inventions were designed to relieve symptoms of vomiting or nausea. This latest device is different, in that it is designed specifically to help people control their weight.

Appetite is partly controlled by electrochemical signals passing along the nerves. The new pacemaker taps into this neural communication pathway.

The news of the new pacemaker has been welcomed by many obesity experts. One individual who approves it is Stephen Bloom who works at Imperial College in London. He said: “If you can stimulate the nerves going from the stomach to the brain that should indeed have an effect in reducing food intake.”

Mr. Bloom has not been part of the trials carried out by Intraspace.

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