Some people need more than just exercise or diet to lose weight, especially in cases of advanced obesity that threatens people’s health.
Scientists have designed a new technology to help promote weight loss by killing hunger-causing cells in the stomach, New Atlas reported, citing the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.
Scientists at the Catholic University of Korea recently set out to limit the activity of these cells by modifying a prototype known as an “intragastric satiety stimulator” (ISD).
The old model consisted of a stent that was fixed without surgery in the lower esophagus, attached to a disk that rests in the opening of the stomach, and there is a small opening in the disk that allows food to pass through.
Laser light and methylene blue
As for the new version, the underside of the disc was coated with a drug approved by the US Food and Drug Administration called methylene blue, in addition to passing a fiber-optic laser down through the hole in the disc, and bent back to point to its underside.
When the laser shines on methylene blue, the radioactive drug responds by producing an active form of oxygen known as “suppressive oxygen”, which kills nearby ghrelin-producing cells. The implant is then withdrawn from the stomach.
After the animal experiments were applied for one week, both ghrelin levels and body weight gain were reduced by half, compared to controls.
For their part, the researchers explained that the effects diminished over the following weeks, as the cells producing the killing hormone were replaced naturally, which means that for the effect of suppressing hunger to persist, the light therapy must be repeated periodically. More research is currently being done, before the new technology can be tested in humans.
It is noteworthy that the hunger hormone ghrelin is secreted naturally with the aim of stimulating the appetite and thus an increase in the amount of food eaten, which promotes fat storage.
While small amounts of the hormone are released by a signal from the brain, pancreas, and small intestine, cells in the upper part of the stomach produce and secrete most of it.