'Satiety' implant could stop the desire to overeat

What if a small implantable device could solve the obesity epidemic?

It may not be a one-size-fits-all solution, but researchers from Switzerland have come up with a type of early warning system that was embedded into obese mice, helping them to stop eating and lose weight.

How it works

The tiny device is a closed-loop circuit made from human gene components that monitor the levels of fat circulating in the blood. Upon detecting high levels of fat, it triggers the supply of a "messenger" substance (an appetite-suppressing hormone pramlintide) that increases fullness and satiety.

In mice, the devices seemed capable of regulating appetite and, therefore, weight loss. Once their fat levels returned to a normal state, the device stopped emitting the "full" signal.

"The mice lost weight although we kept giving them as much high-calorie food as they could eat," Prof. Martin Fussenegger, study author, said on Medical News Today.

Implications

While the researchers are hopeful that the device may be a solution for humans one day, they said that years of research are ahead before this can happen. A benefit of the device, they noted, is that it could be an alternative to risky and expensive weight-loss surgeries.

"The advantage of our implant would be that it can be used without such invasive interventions," Fussenegger said.

Source: Medical News Today

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