With the new approach, doctors insert a VBLOC device just beneath the skin. It's a receiver. Electrodes are hooked up to the vagal nerves. And the patient wears a belt that transmits electronic impulses to confuse or block the nerves' signals. The desired result -- pangs of hunger are reduced, and patients eat less.
The treatment is considered less invasive than bariatric surgeries, which usually involve shrinking the stomach by wrapping a tight band around it -- a so-called lapband -- or bypassing large sections of the stomach altogether and going directly to the rest of the digestive tract -- commonly referred to as gastic bypass surgery.
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Stanford is looking for up to 50 patients to participate in the five-year trial. Participants must have a body mass index of 40 to 45, or of at least 35 for people suffering from an obesity-related condition such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or sleep apnea. Participants must have completed at least six months of a supervised weight-loss program and either failed to lose weight or could not keep it off.
To apply for the trial, fill out a registration form at links.sfgate.com/ZDAY, or call (866) 291-9146