For the 700 million obese people worldwide, weight loss could be crucial to survival, but sometimes diet and exercise aren’t enough. According to a recent article from University of Wisconsin—Madison College of Engineering, a team of engineers has developed an implantable weight-loss device that essentially tricks the brain into thinking the stomach is full. In lab testing, it helped rats lose nearly 40% of their body weight.
The device is less than 1 centimeter wide and generates small electric pulses that sync with the stomach’s natural motions. The pulses are sent to the vagus nerve, which links the brain and the stomach, creating the illusion of being full after minimal food intake. The effects of the device are also reversible; when the team removed the devices from the rats, the rodents resumed normal eating patterns and regained the weight.