USA/UK: Anti-obesity device fakes satiety
Obese people can be fitted with a device that fools their brain into thinking they have eaten to help them lose weight, according to a BBC report.
The technology, by Transneuronix, comprises a matchbox-sized pacemaker implanted into the abdomen, linked to electrodes in the stomach wall. Experts said it could be a new tool to fight the UK's obesity problem, the broadcaster said.
However, it would not work miracles and the user must still eat a healthy diet and do exercise, they cautioned. The device works by triggering the nerves in the stomach that are involved in digestion.
These tell the brain that the stomach is full so the individual feels as though they have already eaten even though they have not.
Similar devices are available on the market and some have already been fitted in private clinics in the UK.
A spokesman from Transneuronix said a physician at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary would be trained in the technology at the end of the month.
However, Transneuronix tells potential patients: "Surgery is not a cure for the chronic disease of morbid obesity, but it can be an effective tool to fight the disease."
"Having surgery does not excuse you from a personal responsibility for your health. If you snack between meals, do not exercise regularly, and do not participate in ongoing post-surgical therapeutic support programs, you can regain weight."
Dr David Haslam, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, said the technology could be "a new tool in the armoury" for fighting obesity.
"It is potentially very valuable, as it could provide another less invasive option other than surgery," he said. "But it will not create miracles. You have to do all the hard work with it."
He said it would be an option for those who were morbidly obese rather than people who were overweight.
Currently, more than 65% of men and 55% of women in the UK are overweight or obese, official figures suggest.
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