Scientists develop 'weight loss implant'

Many seriously overweight people find weight loss a constant battle, but science could soon have the solution to the problem. Researchers in Switzerland are developing a computer chip that can suppress the appetite when over eating begins.

Scientists developing weight loss chip

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Reported in the journal Nature Communications, the chip could be implanted into an obese patient's arm, where it would monitor fat levels in the blood. Should the levels get too high, a hormone that suppresses appetite would be released, causing the patient to feel satiated.

In tests on obese mice, an early version of the chip led to the animals eating less fatty food and losing weight. And once a normal, healthy weight was reached, the device - which contains two genes that work together to keep appetite under control - ceased to release the appetite suppressant.

According to the Daily Mail, the Swiss researchers hope to have a coin-sized version of the chip that could provide an alternative to weight loss surgery and diet pills, without the side effects and risks.

A spokesman for the researchers said: "Humankind has a weight problem. According to the World Health Organisation over half the population in many industrialised countries is overweight, one in three people extremely so.

"Not only is high-calorie and fatty food a lifetime on the hips, backside and stomach; it also leaves traces in the blood, where various fats ingested via food circulate. Increased blood fat values are considered a risk factor for heart attacks and strokes."

Though British experts have suggested a chip may not prove a long-term solution for those who need to lose a large amount of weight, It is hoped the chip could be tested on human subjects in three years' time, with a view to making the implant available a few years later.

What do you think? Would you be willing to try an implant to help you lose weight? Leave your comments below...