FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - A kind of pacemaker for the tummy, an implanted electrical device that fools the body into feeling full, appears to be an effective alternative to radical digestive surgery for helping obese people shed large amounts of weight.
If it proves out in larger studies, the experimental device could offer a new way to help very large people slim down when they cannot lose weight on diets or with appetite-suppressing drugs. Researchers Sunday presented preliminary data on the usefulness of the approach, which has already been tested on 450 people to show its safety.
Surgical techniques that shrink the stomach and reroute the digestive tract are the only highly reliable way to make obese people lose weight. However, this is major surgery that carries significant risk, including a 1 percent chance of death, and researchers are searching for ways to do the job more safely.
The new device is similar to a cardiac pacemaker. But instead of stimulating the heart, this one is attached to the wall of the stomach and is intended to reduce feelings of hunger..