For the first time, electroceuticals -- electrical signals used to trick the brain into thinking the gut is full -- have been approved by the FDA to treat obesity. Roger Highfield of Newsweek explains the science behind the devices manufactured by the US company EnteroMedics:
"If their initial promise holds good, this approach could be a gentle option next to stomach stapling, which carries a 0.5% risk of death, would have fewer side effects, such as frequent diarrhea, and be reversible too.
Their target is the vagus nerve, a bundle of neurons that provides a major highway taking signals back and forth from the brain to many of the major organs. The vagus does a plethora of jobs, including helping to control heart rate, breathing, secretion of stomach acids and appetite. It also feeds information back to the brain on how various body systems are operating.'
By blocking signals along the nerves that connect the brain and stomach, the device 'promotes earlier feelings of fullness, which can help people with obesity reduce the number of calories consumed.'"
Highfield notes that this is first new obesity treatment approved by the FDA in over a decade. Initial trials showed that patients exhibited about 25% excess weight loss after a year. Check out the full article below to learn more about the merging of science and psychology that seeks to help fight back the approaches of widespread obesity.
Read more at Newsweek