A Pacemaker for Obesity!?

A device that blocks hunger signals from the stomach to the brain could be a game-changer for obese patients. Unlike gastric bypass and similar surgeries, the vBLOC is minimally invasive and doesn’t alter the capacity of the patient’s stomach. The strength of the signal can be customized to fit the patient’s eating habits -- and it can even be adjusted by remote control. But is it safe to tamper with the stomach-brain connection?

The Doctors welcome Bariatric Surgeon Dr. Frank Chae and his patient Cindy. “I have had an incredibly positive experience with my device,“ says Cindy. After her vBLOC was inserted, she lost 45 pounds in 11 months. Dr. Chae recommends the device for patients who are not only overweight but on verge of type 2 diabetes or suffering from hypertension or disease.

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Breast Surgeon Dr. Kristi Funk says, “I’m a little skeptical.” Is hunger really the motivating factor for the majority of overweight patients? She thinks that overeating isn’t usually prompted by physical hunger.

Dr. Chae agrees but says that the vBLOC actually makes patients forget to eat.

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“Is that really a good thing?” Dr. Travis Stork asks. We want to create a healthy relationship with food -- doesn’t this disrupt it? Dr. Chae says this is a far less drastic solution than a gastric bypass and has a nine-year track record of success. He sees very few side effects with the vBLOC as well.

“That’s why I think it’s so important that if you see a bariatric surgeon, you talk through the best option for you,” concludes Dr. Stork.

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