(ORDO NEWS) — Often, diet and exercise help to lose weight, but in some cases, these methods do not help to overcome the body’s tendency to gain weight. Then a new implant will help.
The new device is a bit like an EGD machine, but it works a little more complicated and cooler: the technology kills the cells that produce the hormone ghrelin, which causes hunger
Ghrelin is a naturally occurring hormone that stimulates appetite, increases food intake, and promotes fat storage. Although a small amount is released by the brain, pancreas, and small intestine, most of it is produced and secreted by cells in the upper stomach.
Scientists at the Catholic University of Korea recently decided to reduce the activity of these cells by modifying an existing prototype implant, which translates to “intragastric satiety device” (ISD).
It consists of a stent that is non-surgically placed in the lower part of the esophagus and connected to a disc in the stomach opening. A small hole in this disc allows food to pass through.
How to cure obesity
In a modified version of the device, the underside of the disc is coated with methylene blue dye. It also has a fiber optic laser that goes down through the hole in the disc and curves back so that light hits the stomach-facing side of the disc.
When the laser shines on methylene blue, the irradiated drug reacts to produce an energetic singlet form of oxygen. This singlet oxygen kills nearby ghrelin-producing cells and is then rapidly eliminated from the stomach. The implant is then removed from the body.
After young pigs received this therapy for one week, their ghrelin levels and body weight gain were halved compared to the untreated control group.
These differences narrowed over the following weeks as new ghrelin-producing cells replaced the dead ones. This means that the procedure will have to be repeated periodically in order to achieve sustainable weight loss. The scientists are now planning to test the new technology in humans.
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