February 5, 2008
Boston, MA -- The FDA recently approved a new study which uses a small pacemaker-type device to control your appetite.
Obesity can lead to a whole host of problems including high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and sleep apnea.
Some patients have turned to surgery to help them lose weight.
"Last year in the United States we performed about 200,000 procedures, which is the most we've done in the history of the field," said bariatric surgeon Dr. Scott Shikora.
Dr. Shikora says many others who could benefit are not having these procedures because they are concerned about complications.
Now some doctors are hoping a small device will help people suffering from obesity.
Doctors at Tufts New England Medical Center are one of a handful of centers around the country taking part in a new study using V-Bloc therapy for weight loss.
The idea is to control the vagus nerves, which help regulate the sense of hunger and fullness in the brain.
In a minimally invasive procedure, a pacemaker-like device is implanted in the patient with electrodes going to the vagus nerves.
The device can be turned off and on with an external control by the patient.
"Patient's don't feel the same hunger, don't have the same need to eat the size portions that they did prior to the device being activated," Dr. Shikora said.
And in the end, lead to the desired weight loss.
"New technology like the V-Bloc have come along and offer patients the potential for good results with dramatically less complications," Dr. Shikora said.
The study is for obese people between the ages of 18 and 55.