Washington, July 11 : The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is testing a new weight loss device called the VBLOC for its ability to suppress hunger pangs, making a patient eat less.
The VBLOC, which is basically a receiver, has already helped a dozen patients lose on average 29.1 percent of their excess body weight so far.
Patients wear a belt that transmits electronic impulses that block signals travelling between the brain and the stomach via the vagus nerve, and thereby quells hunger pangs.
A final clinical trial of the device begins this summer, when its safety and effectiveness will be tested on 300 patients.
"With our device there is no restrictive diet, no change in lifestyle," Discovery News quoted Greg Lea of EnteroMedics, which makes the device, as saying.
An article on the new device says that it works by flowing 5,000 hertz worth of electricity out of the neuroregulator and down two laproscopically inserted electrical ledes onto the vagus nerve every five minutes.
The report says that that much electricity causes a massive depolarisation on the vagus nerve, making communication between the brain and the stomach impossible.
In the absence of such signals, the stomach doesn't expand when a person eats, and thus makes him fuller sooner.
The process also limits the release of digestive juices, extending digestion and keeping food in the stomach longer.
Lea has revealed that the device will only have one setting throughout the trials, but added that it could be adjusted depending upon the needs of the patients to lose more or less weight.
Doctors associated with the clinical trials say that the device is "very promising".
"It's safe, simple, and can be reversed. If it passes its trials, and indications are that it will, it will take its place among other weight loss surgeries," said Henry Buchwald of the University of Minnesota.
Even doctors not associated with the trials are expecting the device to work.
"This is a hopeful and useful thing," said Richard Atkinson, editor of the International Journal of Obesity.
"But what I hope will happen is that this will enable us to better tailor treatments for patients who don't respond to a particular weight loss procedure," he added.