US researchers develop wireless device to treat obesity

11 January 2021 (Last Updated January 11th, 2021 15:26)

Researchers at Texas A&M University in the US have developed a small wireless device that can potentially help in fighting obesity and lose bodyweight by stimulating nerve endings.

US researchers develop wireless device to treat obesity
Obesity puts individuals at risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and even cancers. Credit Bruno Germany / Pixabay.

Researchers at Texas A&M University in the US have developed a small wireless device that can potentially help in fighting obesity and lose bodyweight by stimulating nerve endings.

A global epidemic, obesity puts individuals at risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and even cancers.

For people with a body mass index over 35 or with at least two obesity-related issues, gastric bypass surgery becomes the last resort. It can help people lose excess weight and maintain it over a long duration.

However, the latest method requires making a small stomach pouch and digestive tract rerouting. It is a very invasive procedure and lengthens patients’ recovery time.

The centimetre-sized device can be placed by a simple implantation procedure. It can provide the feeling of fullness by stimulating the endings of the vagus nerve with light, the scientists noted.

Compared to other devices, which require a power cord, this device can be controlled using an external remote radio frequency source.

The new technology can potentially make nerve stimulation devices less complicated and can provide better comfort for the patient.

Texas A&M University Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering assistant professor Dr Sung Park said: “We wanted to create a device that not only requires minimal surgery for implantation but also allows us to stimulate specific nerve endings in the stomach.

“Our device has the potential to do both of these things in the harsh gastric conditions, which, in the future, can be hugely beneficial to people needing dramatic weight-loss surgeries.”

Furthermore, the device can be used to manipulate nerve endings all through the gastrointestinal tract and other organs such as intestine, without requiring extensive modifications.