Zap Away Pounds?

January 25, 2008 at 7:56 am Leave a comment

Yikes! If we haven’t done enough to ourselves already in the name of losing weight – cutting our insides up or tying our organs off, wiring our jaws shut, taking pills that make us run to the bathroom every few minutes – there’s a new monster-movie technique on the horizon that claims to help us drop pounds: electricity.

MSNBC reports that, within a few years, we may be able to implant a pacemaker-like device that shoots a jolt of electricity to a key nerve that controls feelings of hunger and fullness.

“A St. Paul, Minn.-based company called EnteroMedics Inc. is testing an implantable device called Maestro that periodically blocks transmission on the digestion-controlling vagus nerve. Limited study data suggests it may trigger significant weight loss. A bigger, yearlong randomized study that’s enrolling over the next six months could put the company on track for U.S. approval in the middle of 2010, if things go well.”

The device will supposedly be safer than gastric bypass or banding surgeries and “could give weight loss surgeons a significant new tool.”

Never say never, but I am very skeptical about this idea. As I’ve said before, we know what to do to lose weight. We just don’t want to do it. It’s hard! It stinks sometimes! It requires day-in-day-out consistent behavior that’s generally not fun. The end result is fun, but getting there is frequently drudgery.

We want a magic pill or surgery or device to take care of it for us. But when we’ve tried these things, they don’t work nearly as well as we hope and, in some cases, they damage us irreparably for life. Or, with techniques like bypass surgery, they still require work on our end… work we often don’t do so we sabotage the jumpstart the technique gives us.

Let’s stop focusing on crazy ways to override the natural and appropriate functioning of our bodies and start teaching ourselves to eat less and exercise more. It’s not a fast or trendy technique, but it works.


Entry filed under: news around the blogosphere, science, Weight Loss Philosophy. Tags: , , .

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