Tiny Implantable Device could help Combat Obesity Epidemic

Obesity Epidemic

Scientists have created a battery-free, easy-to-implant device that makes the brain think of the stomach as full after eating only a few nibbles of food. The device is capable of fighting the growing issue of obesity, worldwide. When the researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US tried the device in laboratory testing, it aided rats shed nearly 40% of the body weight.

While referring to the growing weight related health issues as a rising epidemic, researchers said that over 700 million grownups and kids are obese. The recently published study mentioned that the battery-free, easy-to-implant weight-loss devices are likely to work efficiently at fighting the bulge.

The newly-developed devices measure less than a centimeter in size, and are fully risk-free for use in the body and can be implanted via a minimally invasive procedure. The device produces gentle electric pulses based on the natural churning motions of the stomach and transmits them to vagus nerve, the link between the stomach and the brain. This stimulation persuades the brain to think that the stomach is jam-packed, when there is still a lot of scope to eat.

Xudong Wang, one of the professors at UW-Madison said that the pulses connect with the motions of the stomach and enhance a natural response to restrict food consumption. The effects of the newly-developed devices are reversible, and aren’t like gastric bypass, which changes the stomach’s capacity `permanently.

During the study, when the device was removed after 84 days, the researchers found that the rats started following their usual eating styles and patterns again, and gained back the weight they had shed.

These new devices are more useful than an already prevailing unit that rouses the vagus nerve for body weight loss. Named Maestro, the existing unit has received the FDA approval in 2015, and it directs high-frequency zaps to the vagus nerve to eliminate communication of all kinds, between the stomach and the brain.

The already existing device needs heavy batteries and a complex control unit, which requires frequent recharging.  As per one of the surgery professors at UW-Madison, Dr. Luke Funk such ongoing maintenance is likely to become a huge issue in the way of using the existing device.

Funk added that the newly-created device could prove more beneficial than the prevailing vagus nerve stimulators, because it doesn’t need external battery charging, which is an important advantage if you think about the troubles that patients have to face at the time of recharging battery for 60 minutes or more twice a week.

Wang’s device works on the basis of the undulations of the stomach walls, using which it powers its internal generators, meaning the device stimulates the vagus nerve only with the movement of the stomach. Wang added that the device responds to the working of our body automatically, creating stimulation when required.

About Sabyasachi Ghosh 25 Articles
Sabyasachi Ghosh is an experienced market research analyst and consultant, with over six years of experience in end-to-end project management. He has worked at numerous leadership positions and has a vast experience of compiling high-quality market research reports. Sabyasachi is an authoritative voice in the market research sector, and has been cited in top industry publications. He is a travel junkie, and loves to travel far and wide with his friends.