More than 700 million adults and children worldwide are obese, according to a 2017 study that called the growing number and weight-related health problems a “rising pandemic.”
New battery-free, easily implantable weight-loss devices developed by engineers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison could offer a promising new weapon for battling the bulge.
In laboratory testing, the devices helped rats shed almost 40 percent of their body weight. Results of the study were published today (Dec. 17, 2018) in the journal Nature Communications.
Measuring less than 1 centimeter across, or about a third of the area of a U.S. penny, the tiny devices — which are safe for use in the body and implantable via a minimally invasive procedure — generate gentle electric pulses from the stomach’s natural churning motions and deliver them to the vagus nerve, which links the brain and the stomach.
That gentle stimulation dupes the brain into thinking that the stomach is full after only a few nibbles of food.