Medical treatments that use electricity
This week: Weight loss and diabetes
ELECTRICALLY stimulating the stomach muscles is being explored as a way to improve blood sugar levels and reduce weight in people with type 2 diabetes.
The device, the size of a heart pacemaker, is implanted in the skin and programmed to fire small electrical signals when the patient is eating.
The theory is that the electricity increases the activity of the stomach muscles, making the patient feel full sooner and so eat less. It’s also thought to
affect various hormones to bring on fullness. In a trial at the Medical University of Vienna in 2015, electrical stimulation resulted in an average weight loss of 4kg to 5kg after three months, and blood sugar levels fell by a quarter.
Researchers also used stimulation of the vagus nerve in the neck to reduce cravings in overweight people.
It follows a recent U.S. study that showed 62 per cent of patients who had the stimulation for epilepsy also had significant weight loss.