Monday, June 06, 2005

Stomach 'Pacemaker' Offers Obesity Shock Treatment

This AARP story caught me off guard because usually that organization only deals with issues involving "older" (defined by them as 50 and above) people.

But in a bulletin at their web site entitled "Zap Away Those Extra Pounds," the AARP promotes a new "implantable gastric stimulator" (a la a pacemaker for your heart) that will help you cut down on your hunger which can in turn help you lose weight. It is being heralded as a technological breakthrough in the fight against obesity without the dangers associated with risky gastric bypass surgery.

The device, which has been in several clinical trials over the past year in the United States, is placed just underneath the skin in the abdomen area and sends electrical shockwaves to make you feel like you are full. The idea is that if you feel full, then you won't eat and, thus, you will lose weight.

Sounds good, doesn't it?

While I can appreciate any effort to help people lose weight, I have a funny feeling in my stomach about this one (sorry, couldn't resist the pun!). But seriously, how is anyone changing their eating habits by having their stomach zapped with electric pulses? Sure it may curb your appetite, but you still have to eat. Starving yourself does not help you lose weight near as effectively as finding a healthy eating lifestyle to follow.

That's why I love livin' la vida low-carb. I don't need any stomach stimulation to keep me from eating. All I have to do is watch my carb intake and the weight will come pouring off even if I eat a lot of food. You don't need to worry about portion control which you would be subject to by having your stomach zapped!

This device is meant to help people control their eating addiction without having surgery, which can require follow-up visits to the doctor due to various side effects.

My mom had gastric bypass surgery in Decmeber 2003 and was in and out of the hospital several times in the first few months after having it done. She is fine now, but it was an extremely dangerous measure she felt she needed to take.

This implantable gastric stimulator may not be as harmful as having the surgery, but it does not replace good sound nutrition and exercise to help people lose weight and keep it off. A good healthy eating program (such as low-carb) combined with an exercise routine will teach you the good habits you will need to attain excellent health.

The device was created by Transneuronix Inc. (whose slogan is "Developing New Treatment Options For Obesity") and is in the process of having it approved by the Food and Drug Administration, which is expected to take place by 2007. But this little device won't be cheap -- it comes with a pricetag of an eye-popping $15,000!

What we have here is yet another gimmick by a company looking to make a quick buck off the obesity epidemic. That is such a shame, too. While their intentions might be in the right place, this technology will no replace the fact that people need to find a weight loss routine that works for them, is relatively easy to do and will keep the weight off permanently.

For me, only livin' la vida low-carb has provided me with all of those elements.


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