Tiny amounts of electricity in order to stimulate the nerves might be a way to lose weight, researchers say.
Patients that had electrodes implanted at the junction between the oesophagus (the gullet) and the stomach cut their calorie intake by more than 30 percent in a month. This was done without any additional dieting or exercise.
According to DailyMail, “The electrodes have a blocking effect on the vagus nerve. This runs from the brain to a number of organs, as well as regions of the digestive system including the stomach.
The nerve provides two-way communication between the brain and the digestive system, and research suggests that the nerve is involved in the expansion of the stomach to accommodate food, the release of gastric acids, the emptying of the stomach contents and the sensation of hunger and fullness.”
During the testing stage, this therapy was given over a 12-hour period of stimulation alternated with periods of non-stimulation.
Electrodes are implanted on the two nerves at the front and back of the oesophagus. Wires are then put under the skin to a small generator, which is usually placed under the skin as well.
At specific times, the generator delivers low-energy electric impulses to the nerves. Once the patient has reached their ideal weight, the system can be turned off and left in place or removed completely.
As for how this may work: “One suggestion is that blocking nerve transmissions to and from the brain limits the expansion of the stomach when the patient eats, reducing the amount of food that can be comfortably eaten.
Another is that the nerve plays an important role in the release of gut hormones which are known to have effects on food intake and appetite, and that it might reduce hunger pangs.
Researchers from the Mayo Clinic in America, and eight other centres where patients have been treated, said: ‘Those implanted with the stimulation device were less hungry between meals and felt fuller sooner than usual when eating.’”
I’m not too sure I’d try something like this. I don’t feel comfortable with the idea of my nerves getting zapped in order to lose weight. And how long would this last? I can keep the contraption in me and if I gain weight just start using it again? I think I’ll stick to proper diet and exercise.