UW–Madison Researchers Develop Implantable Weight Loss Device

Graduate student Guang Yao (seated) and principal investigator Xudong Wang (standing) make adjustments to a 3D printer that was used to fabricate implantable weight-loss devices. Photo credit: Sam Million-Weaver.

More than 700 million adults and children worldwide are obese, according to a 2017 study that called the growing number and weight-related health problems a “rising pandemic.”

New battery-free, easily implantable weight-loss devices developed by engineers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison could offer a promising new weapon for battling the bulge.

In laboratory testing, the devices helped rats shed almost 40 percent of their body weight. Results of the study were published Dec. 17 in the journal Nature Communications.

Measuring less than one centimeter across, or about a third of the area of a U.S. penny, the tiny devices—which are safe for use in the body and implantable via a minimally invasive procedure—generate gentle electric pulses from the stomach’s natural churning motions and deliver them to the vagus nerve, which links the brain and the stomach.

That gentle stimulation dupes the brain into thinking that the stomach is full after only a few nibbles of food.

“The pulses correlate with the stomach’s motions, enhancing a natural response to help control food intake,” says Xudong Wang, a UW–Madison professor of materials science and engineering.

Read the full article at: https://www.engr.wisc.edu/implantable-device-aids-weight-loss/