“Gastric Pacemaker” Could Help You Shed Pounds by Telling Your Brain You Aren’t Hungry
Dubbed “abiliti,” this little device is designed to be implanted into the human abdomen and attached to the vagus nerve, where it monitors how extended one’s stomach may be, then sends signals to the brain telling it that it isn’t hungry. Though still invasive, abiliti is aimed to be less invasive than a stomach bypass or gastric band, which means it could provide a somewhat less scary weight loss method, if one isn’t afraid of a little machine sending electric signals along their nerves up into their brain, of course.
Along with the electric signals, abiliti comes with an accelerometer so one’s doctor can more easily monitor a patient’s exercise and eating habits. Intrapace, the company behind the device, claims that among the 65 people who participated in the study, the biggest loss clocked in at 38 percent body weight, while the average weight loss of the group was around 22 percent. However, one obesity expert, Stephan Rossner, makes a good counterpoint to the effectiveness of the implant:
“A lot of obese patients eat because they’re depressed, they can’t sleep at night, or they have nobody to have sex with,” he said. “So whatever you insert into their stomach, they can out-eat that device because it’s other things that drive them to consume.”
The device is currently available in the UK, Germany, and Spain, with a projected 2014 release date for the US.
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