We all know the difficulties associated with losing weight, and often it’s a battle of willpower to stop the cravings and hunger associated with diets. However, all that could be a thing of the past following the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of a device which has been developed to help obese people shed weight.
The Maestro Rechargeable System
The device, called the Maestro Rechargeable System, works by targeting the nerve pathway between the brain and stomach that controls feelings of both hunger and satiety. Consisting of an electrical charge generator, electrodes and wire leads, the device is implanted surgically into the abdomen of overweight people, where it sends electrical pulses which are designed to interfere with the signals sent by the vagus nerve to indicate whether the stomach is empty or full.
Tested with a year-long clinical trial
At the moment, although this device has been shown to be successful, the researchers don’t know why. Following a year-long clinical trial which involved 233 obese patients with a BMI of 35 or more, the results showed that those individuals who were fitted with a working Maestro lost 8.5% more weight than the control group. Approximately 50% of those in the experimental group lost at least 20% of their excess weight, with more than a third losing in excess of 25%.
Trials showed sustained weight loss
Despite the fact that the overall figure of weight lost was below the original expectations of the researchers, the data does show sustained weight loss among the participants of the trial. While some patients did experience side effects including nausea, vomiting and surgical complications, it’s believed that the benefits of having a Maestro fitted outweigh the risks for certain people who are overweight.
The chief executive of EnteroMedics, Mark Knudson, has called the approval of the Maestro System a transformational event for obese people who are seeking a new and viable option for losing weight, and has suggested that it will fill a significant gap in the treatment options that are currently available, without the kind of side effects that are associated with existing bariatric weight loss measures. However, the FDA has insisted that EnteroMedics, should conduct a five year post-approval study to gather and assess additional data in relation to the safety and effectiveness of the device.