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Battery-Free Implant Suppresses Appetite Battery-Free Implant Suppresses Appetite

Battery-Free Implant Suppresses Appetite

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The implantable gizmo could assist the more that 700 million adults and children worldwide classified as obese to lose weight, engineers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison said recently.

Laboratory testing demonstrated that rats using the device succeeded in dropping approximately 40 per cent of their body weight. And the device takes up very little room, measuring at less than a centimeter across -- or about a third of the diameter of a U.S. penny.

Here's how it works: The safely implantable device generates harmless electric pulses by picking up on the stomach's typical churning action and then delivers those pulses directly to the vagus nerve, which ties together the brain and the stomach. By gently stimulating the vague nerve, the device essentially fools the brain into believing that the stomach doesn't want more than the few morsels of food it has already had.

Xudong Wang, a UW–Madison professor of materials science and engineering, said in a press release, “The pulses correlate with the stomach’s motions, enhancing a natural response to help control food intake".

And the effects produced by the implantable devices can be reversed -- unlike gastric bypass surgery procedures. After 12 weeks, Wang and his team took out the implanted devices and the rats returned to their ordinary eating routines, gaining weight in the process.

Wang and Company's device boasts a few advantages over a similar one that also stimulates the vagus nerve to encourage weight loss. The unit in question, called Maestro, uses high-frequency jolts to the vagus nerve to block all communication between the brain and vagus nerve. And it requires a large control unit and batteries that need to be regularly and frequently recharged.

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Read 1532 times Last modified on Thursday, 20 December 2018 03:01
Jim Lillie

Jim began writing for newspapers and designing for publishing companies at a time when both industries were just beginning to make the switch from manual to digital platforms. Jim lives in Boulder, Colorado with his teenage son.

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