The FDA is About to Approve the Equivalent to an Obesity Shock Collar

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Iannathedriveress

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http://kitchenette.jezebel.com/fda-is-about-to-approve-the-equivalent-to-an-obesity-sh-1594216734

The miracle cure for obesity has been electricity all along — at least, so sayeth a new product just recommended for approval by the FDA's nine-member Gastroenterology and Urology Devices Panel.

Alright, so it's not exactly an obesity shock collar, but the principle is actually remarkably similar: the Maestro Rechargeable System is designed to curb someone's appetite by electrically stimulating stomach nerves — basically, it's a nerve-blocker that attempts to curb hunger pangs and make you feel full. It's aimed at obese adults with a BMI over 40 (gee, I love that we're still treating BMI like a legitimate measurement of fitness or obesity) as an alternative to weight-loss surgery.

Here are the technical details:

The Maestro consists of a "pulse generator" surgically implanted under the skin of the chest wall. This delivers high-frequency electrical pulses to leads laid along two trunks of the vagus nerve, which helps control the function of many organs in the abdomen.
This product may be perfectly safe (the advisory panel seems to think so), but I'd advise them to avoid putting "electrical pulses along the thing that helps control organ function" on the packaging, all the same.

Speaking of that, the vote wasn't unanimous, although it was pretty lopsided: the panel voted 8 to 1 about whether the device was safe, and 6-2 (with one abstention) about whether its benefits outweighed its risks. Perhaps the most telling vote was whether it would actually work: the final results were 5-4 with the "no's" having it. So it still might just not do anything — which, to be fair, would just give it something in common with about 95% of currently-on-the-market products designed to combat obesity.

Granted, none of this guarantees the product will be approved (the FDA is not obligated to follow the recommendations of its advisory committees), but since the agency most commonly does follow its advisory committees' leads, it's a safe bet that this will make it through soon.
 

lille

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This isn't at all like a shock collar, yes it uses electricity but it isn't a painful punishment tool. It reminds me of some of the nerve implants that can be placed in the neck or chest that use nerve stimulation to help with severe depression. A little out there, yes, something to get up in arms about, I don't think so.
 

Saisha

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It makes sense from a physiological and neurological standpoint but I'd want to see a lot of trial runs done before they put it on the market.
 

CastingPearls

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Considering the different systems (not just stomach) the vagus nerve affects, and that this thing is permanent, and that many people don't eat just from hunger but often from emotional issues which aren't affected by this, and didn't 4 of 5 on the panel say it wouldn't benefit?, I'm really skeptical.
 

smithnwesson

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I might be prudent to wait a bit and let other folks be the alpha testers. There's such a thing as getting cut on the leading edge of technology.
 

one2one

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There are so many issue here. The human body is incredibly complex, and a device designed to impede natural, healthy functions like signals that it needs nutrients and energy from food is something that I'd be really cautious about. The article doesn't indicate why healthy food and movement didn't work for the people in the study (and 157 participants who received the device sounds like a small study), but it suggests that there is more happening biochemically with their bodies.

I doubt denying food would be a healthy way to address those issues if, on an individual basis, they were known. Studying and addressing that would be a much better alternative, but rarely do people receive that kind of comprehensive health care. It costs money. On the other hand, designing, manufacturing and selling the device, along with the surgery to implant it, is profitable. Although not necessarily effective, as the majority of the panel indicated by their votes.
 

FatAndProud

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Why can't there be products for skinny people to get skinnier and just let us large ladies enjoy our freedoms of eats.
 

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