The obesity problem in America has led to countless new weight loss strategies from low-calorie diets to major surgery. Now a new device falls somewhere in the middle, literally, in the form of a belt. It is not as drastic as gastric by-pass surgery. The actual device, about the size of a pacemaker, is implanted inside the abdomen to help slow down digestion. It sends electrical signals to block the vagus nerve, which helps the stomach expand to take in a meal and then contract to digest it.
Surgeon James Maher, M.D., said, "If we're right about what the vagus nerves do, then if you can't accommodate a large meal, you get full more quickly. If your stomach's not emptying as quickly, you don't get hungry again as quickly."
James Lawrence is a patient in this study. That belt is the key to his success. The belt is tied to a coil over the implanted device, which is what turns it on. James says that, "I like to eat about 500 calories worth of food. I put that on the plate and that's it." Dr. Maher adds that, "When they take the coil off at night, they're no longer treating themselves, and so the nerve completely recovers during that period of time". James says he has lost 40 pounds in the last two months.
You can't try this yet, unless, like James, you're part of the double-blind study that's looking into this device. Researchers are still trying to determine if this might be an effective long-term weight loss option. It could be years before it is available. However, Entero-Medics, the company that makes it is already working on a completely implantable version.