Nerve treatment can help weight loss, study says

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Freezing one nerve reduces belly fat
Freezing one nerve reduces belly fat

New Delhi : A new study reveals that freezing one specific nerve can help weight loss. This nerve is located at the base of the esophagus, a muscular tube which connects throat with the stomach. The Society of Interventional Radiology has developed a treatment for person with mild-to-moderate obesity. And, it was considered safe and practicable in the initial pilot phase.

According to the Society of Interventional Radiology, the nerve which is located at the base of the esophagus signals the brain that the stomach is empty. It that carries hunger signals to the brain and freezing this particular nerve may help person with mild-to-moderate obesity lose their weight.

David Prologo, lead author of the study said, "We developed this treatment for patients with mild-to-moderate obesity to reduce the attrition that is common with weight-loss efforts," said. "We are trying to help people succeed with their own attempts to lose weight."

While conducting the study, an interventional radiologist has inserted a needle through the patient's back and, studied live images from a CT scan. He used argon gas to freeze the nerve, known as the posterior vagal trunk.

In the study, 10 subjects with a Body Mass Index (BMI) between 30 and 37 experienced the procedure and were continued for 90 days. All the participants reported decreased appetite and the overall average weight loss was 3.6% of initial body weight and an average decrease of nearly 14% of the excess BMI.

Luckily, no complications were reported during the process and there were no unfavourable actions during the follow up. The treatment appeared safe and possible in the initial pilot phase.

"Medical literature shows the vast majority of weight-loss programs fail, especially when people attempt to reduce their food intake," said Prologo. "When our stomachs are empty, the body senses this and switches to food-seeking survival mode. We're not trying to eliminate this biological response, only reduce the strength of this signal to the brain to provide a new, sustainable solution to the difficult problem of treating mild obesity."

Considering the success of this preliminary safety and feasibility study, more number of patients is being recruited for a larger clinical practice of the procedure to test the efficiency and permanence of the procedure.

However, during the presentation of the study the authors and its team observed several limitations, including the small sample size and the temporary nature of the results.

Interested person can see the paper presented at the Society of Interventional Radiology's 2018 Annual Scientific Meeting so as to get a thorough understanding of this study.