London: Now, a "gastric pacemaker" that warns your brain when you are full.
Scientists have developed the stomach implant which they claim could be the latest hi-tech weapon in the battle of the bulge -- it can train obese people to eat normal-sized meals without the need for surgery that changes stomach size.
The credit card-sized implant, called Abiliti, detects when food has been eaten and sends signals to brain to create the impression of fullness, regardless of the portion`s size, according to the scientists.
It is hoped the device, which is implanted via keyhole surgery, will provide an alternative to radical procedures such as a gastric bypass, in which the stomach is made smaller and digestive tract replumbed, the `Daily Mail` reported.
Initially, operations will be carried out on the obese -- people with a body mass index of 30 or above.
However, the scientists who have trialled the 10,000 pounds device say it may one day be offered to those who are merely overweight to stop them from becoming fatter.
The Abiliti, which is made by US firm IntraPace, is attached to a lead, a food sensor and an electrode. When someone with the implant eats, its sensor is tripped and sends a signal to the device, which then sends a series of gentle electrical pulses to the electrode.
This excites the nearby vagus nerve, and triggers hormonal changes that trick the brain into thinking that the stomach is full.
In European trials, people fitted with the device ate 45 per cent less at each meal. One German recipient has gone from 25 stone to just over 12, and has even started competing in triathlons.
The implant can be programmed to switch off at mealtimes and on between them, to combat snacking.