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Weight and Obesity Innovation Medical Technology

Wireless Device May Treat Obesity

1 month, 3 weeks ago

1591  0
Posted on Jan 12, 2021, 2 p.m.

Texas A&M University researchers suggest that they have developed a small wireless device that may potentially help a person fight obesity and lose weight by stimulating nerve endings. In the report published in Nature Communications, the team describes how their medical device that requires a simpler operative procedure for implantation might help with weight loss.

Obesity is an increasing public health issue, this global epidemic puts people at risk for many chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and even certain cancers. Within America alone obesity poses a significant economic impact on the healthcare system costing $147 billion annually.

For those with a BMI over 35 or those with at least 2 obesity-related health issues gastric bypass surgery may become a choice of last resort as it can help obese people lose excess weight and maintain it over a long duration, provided they strict with the specific follow-up plan. 

Gastric bypass surgery requires dividing the stomach into two portions, making a small upper stomach pouch and a large lower remnant pouch with the small intestine being rearranged to connect to both pouches. The procedure is done laparoscopically with a hospital stay of 2-3 days and recovery in 3-5 weeks. The latest method requires making a small pouch and digestive tract rerouting, it is very invasive and extends the recovery period. 

“Wireless optogenetics and identifying peripheral neural pathways that control appetite and other behaviors are all of great interest to researchers in both the applied and basic fields of study in electronics, material science and neuroscience,” Park said. “Our novel tool now enables interrogation of neuronal function in the peripheral nervous systems in a way that was impossible with existing approaches.”

This tiny paddle-shaped wireless device with micro LEDs is about one centimeter and it can be put in place with a simple implantation procedure to fasten to the stomach, to provide the patient a feeling of fullness by stimulating the endings of the vagus nerve with LED light. It can also be used to manipulate nerve endings through the gastrointestinal tract and other organs without extensive modifications, according to the researchers. This new technology can be controlled using an external remote radio frequency source to potentially make nerve stimulation less complicated and provide better comfort in a less invasive procedure 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.”

“Our findings suggest that stimulating the non-stretch receptors, the ones that respond to chemicals in the food, could also give the feeling of satiety even when the stomach was not distended,” Park said.

“Wireless optogenetics and identifying peripheral neural pathways that control appetite and other behaviors are all of great interest to researchers in both the applied and basic fields of study in electronics, material science and neuroscience,” Park said. “Our novel tool now enables interrogation of neuronal function in the peripheral nervous systems in a way that was impossible with existing approaches.”

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https://www.medicaldevice-network.com/news/us-researchers-device-obesity

https://today.tamu.edu/2021/01/08/tiny-wireless-device-sheds-light-on-combating-obesity/

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-20421-8



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