There’s a new implant in town, and it could help severely obese people lose weight. The Maestro Rechargeable System?is designed to curb appetites by electrically stimulating the nerves in the stomach.
The manufacturer, EnteroMedics Inc., is targeting people who have been unable to lose weight with traditional methods and who are unable (or unwilling) to have weight-loss surgery.
The Maestro Rechargeable System works by sending electrical signals to the nerves that help control digestion. The electrical signals block the nerves and decrease hunger pangs, making the overweight person feel full. In clinical trials, obese people with the implant lost an average of 8.5 percent more weight than those who received a placebo implant.
Here are the highlights, from U.S. News and World Report:
- It’s inserted under the skin of the chest wall.
- IT sends high-frequency electrical pulses to leads that are laid along two trunks of the vagus nerves, which is the nerve that controls functions of many abdominal organs.
- Users should have a body mass index of 40 or more, or 35 if the person has weight-related health problems.
- The trial included more than 200 morbidly obese people in the U.S. and Australia. 157 received an implant and 76 received the fake implant.
- Participants went through a weight management program that included 15-minute counseling sessions.
- The study didn’t include intense interventions such as very low calorie diets, portion-controlled meals, or mandatory exercise programs.
- Participants in the study lost over 24 percent of their excess weight.
- Participants with the fake implants only lost 16 percent of their excess weight.
- Only four percent of the study participants suffered a health problem because of the implant. The source article didn’t say what the?health problems were.
- The device is unsafe during MRI scans and would need to be removed for someone to have an MRI.
The FDA’s Gastroenterology and Urology Devices Panel — an advisory committee which consists of nine people — voted 8-1 that the system is safe when used as designed. The panel voted 6-2, with one abstention, that the device’s benefits outweigh the risks. While the FDA is not obligated to follow the?committee recommendations, they usually do.
So what say you, Liberal America? I’m a little bugged by the whole electrical pulses to leads that are laid along the nerve that controls my bodily organs, you know? Am I being obtuse?
There is a very informative device animation video below. It’s about two minutes long. Let us know your thoughts at the Liberal America Facebook page.
Tiffany Willis is the founder and editor-in-chief of Liberal America. An unapologetic member of the Christian Left, she has spent most of her career actively working with ?the least of these? and disadvantaged and oppressed populations. She’s passionate about their struggles. To stay on top of topics she discusses,?like her?Facebook page,?follow her on Twitter, or?connect with her via LinkedIn. She also has?a?grossly neglected personal blog?and a?literary quotes blog that is a labor of love. Find her somewhere and join the discussion.