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Gastric Electrical Stimulation May Help Treat Obesity

Preliminary study shows it reduces water and food intake, delays gastric emptying

THURSDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- Gastric electrical stimulation (GES), in which mucosal electrodes are endoscopically placed in the fundus, may be a potential treatment for obesity, according to a study published in the April issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

Jun Liu, M.D., of Huazhong Science and Technology University in Wuhan, China, and colleagues performed temporary GES on 12 healthy volunteers.

The researchers found that GES reduced maximum water intake to a mean of 894 mL, compared to 1,093 mL for sham-GES. GES also reduced food intake compared to sham stimulation and delayed gastric emptying during the first 45 minutes after a meal. GES that had water- and food-reducing effects did not cause significant dyspeptic symptoms.

"Although preliminary, the current study is of clinical significance in the following two aspects: (1) the inhibitory effects of the mucosal GES on food intake and gastric motility indicate that GES for obesity may be achieved using mucosal electrodes implanted endoscopically. Although the method used in this current study is not suitable for long-term GES, the concept of mucosal GES is proven. There is a need to develop a better method of electrode fixation on gastric mucosa that is suitable for long-term GES and could thus avoid any surgical procedures; (2) the temporary method of mucosal GES used in this study may be used as a screening tool in identifying patients who are more responsive to GES," the authors state.

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