A stomach implant that can trick the brain into thinking that the stomach is full is the latest hi-tech weapon for obese people in their battle against the bulge.
Experts behind the ‘gastric pacemaker’ claimed it could train obese people to eat normal-sized meals without the need for surgery that drastically changes the size of their stomach, the Daily Mail reported.
The credit card-sized implant detects when food has been eaten and sends signals to the brain to create the impression of fullness, regardless of the portion’s size.
It is hoped that the device, which is implanted via keyhole surgery, will provide a popular alternative to radical procedures such as a gastric bypass, in which the stomach is made smaller.
Initially, operations will be carried out on the obese – people with a body mass index of 30 or above.
But scientists who have tested the 10,000 pounds device, which is already available at selected private hospitals, claimed it might one day be offered to those who are merely overweight to stop them from becoming fatter.
The Abiliti, which is made by U.S. firm IntraPace, is attached to a lead, a food sensor and an electrode.
When someone with the implant eats, its sensor is tripped and sends a signal to the device, which then sends a series of gentle electrical pulses to the electrode.
This excites the nearby vagus nerve, and triggers hormonal changes that trick the brain into thinking that the stomach is full.
In trials, people fitted with the device ate 45 per cent less at each meal, leading to some shedding half a stone a month.