No diet, no exercise, and no pills. That's the idea behind a new weight loss program based on "shock therapy".
It's a wire stimulation of the vagal nerve, which is already used on patients with Parkinson's and epilepsy. In this case, scientists believe the vagal nerve also sends hunger signals to the stomach. So they're implanting a pacemaker-like device near the stomach that interrupts the signal with a painless electric shock so that the hunger pains stop.
At least that's the theory being tested by Dr. Ken Fujioka, of the Scripps Clinic and principal investigator for the first FDA human trial of what's called "Entero-Medics V-Block Therapy". The patient wears this belt under their clothes, but only during the day, to signal the device when to shut down that nerve to the stomach.
Dr. Fujioka explains that, "It sends off a specific frequency that tells the nerve not to work." And Jennifer Wagner, R.N., adds, "The risks are lower. You're not going to cut the intestines or rearrange them or anything like that. Rather just put this little electrode or cuff on the nerve and that's it -- you're done! We're looking for males and females, from ages 18-65 who need to lose approximately 50-150 pounds."
Patients are not eligible if they've already had gastric bypass surgery and they must promise to stick with the study for five years. Researchers at the Scripps Clinic say they feel confident that weight loss will last two to three years after using this device but these tests are to find out what happens long term.
For more information on the "Shock Diet", click here.