Researchers have developed a compact implant that targets the vagus endings in the stomach with light to suppress hunger.
Occasionally, very obese people undergo gastric bypass surgery to lose weight, which is associated with major surgery. There are also experimental devices that are implanted into the stomach to stimulate the feeling of satiety, but they are big enough and have wires.
Now scientists at the University of Texas A&M have unveiled a prototype wireless-powered implant just 1 cm long. It consists of a helical antenna, a set of microchips and tiny LEDs located on a flexible tip. When the system picks up radio waves from a dedicated external transmitter, it converts them into electricity to power the LEDs..
The emitted light stimulates the endings of the vagus nerve, reducing appetite. As the patient stops feeling hungry, his food intake decreases..
The team has successfully tested the device on laboratory mice.
Similar technologies will help fight other common diseases. Scientists have also recently developed a tiny biosensor that will allow people with glaucoma to monitor intraocular pressure around the clock..
text: Ilya Bauer, photo: Texas A&M University
New externally fed gastric implant reduces appetite for obesity treatment