Texas [US], Jan 10 (ANI): Scientists have developed a small wireless device that could help fight obesity and lose body weight by stimulating nerve endings. This device could be inserted using a simple implantation procedure.
A study led by researchers at Texas AM University was published in Nature Communications. Gastric bypass surgery is sometimes the last resort for those struggling with obesity or having serious health-related problems due to their weight. Since this procedure involves making a small stomach bag and diverting the digestive tract, it is very invasive and prolongs the recovery period of patients.
The researchers said their centimeter-sized device provides the feeling of fullness by stimulating the nerve endings to go with light. Unlike other devices that require a power cord, this wireless device can be controlled externally from a remote radio frequency source.
“We wanted to create a device that not only requires minimal surgery for implantation, but also allows us to stimulate specific nerve endings in the stomach,” said Dr. Sung II Park, Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
“Our device has the potential to do these two things in harsh gastric conditions, which, in the future, can be hugely beneficial for people who need dramatic weight loss surgeries,” he added.
Obesity is associated with health problems and has a significant economic impact on the U.S. health care system, costing $ 147 billion a year. In addition, it puts people at risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and even some cancers. For those with a body mass index greater than 35 or who have at least two obesity-related conditions, surgery offers patients a path that not only loses excess weight, but maintains their weight in the long run. .
In recent years, the go nerve has received a lot of attention as a target for treating obesity, as it provides sensory information about fullness from the stomach lining to the brain. While there are medical devices that can stimulate nerve endings to go and consequently help curb hunger, these devices have a similar design to the pacemaker, meaning cables connected to a power source provide electric shocks. to activate the nerve tips.
“Despite the clinical advantage of having a wireless system, no device, to date, has the ability to perform chronic and lasting manipulation specific to the cell type of neuron activity inside any other organ than the brain, ”he said.
To address this gap, Park and his team first used genetic tools to express light-responsive genes in specific vague nerve endings in vivo. They then designed a small pallet-shaped device and inserted micro LEDs near the tip of its flexible shaft, which was attached to the stomach.
At the head of the device, called a reaper, housed the microchips needed for the device to communicate wirelessly with an external radio frequency source. The mower was also equipped to produce tiny currents to power the LEDs. When the radio frequency source was turned on, the researchers showed that LED light was effective in suppressing hunger.
The researchers said this device could also be used to manipulate nerve endings in the gastrointestinal tract and other organs, such as the intestine, with little or no modification. (ANI)