A computer chip that could be implanted in an obese patient’s arm to help weight-loss is being developed by scientists.
It would constantly check for fat in the blood and, when someone has eaten too much, release a hormone that sates hunger.
In tests on mice, an early version of the device led to obese creatures eating less fatty food and shedding weight.
Notably, the device stopped releasing the diet drug when they reached a normal weight.
The Swiss researchers hope that within five to ten years they will have a version the size of a coin that can be slipped under the skin of a slimmer’s arm.
The journal Nature Communications reports that the chip contains two genes that work together to keep appetite in check.
The first monitors fat levels in blood. When they get too high, it tells the second to make the appetite suppressant.
The chip’s inventor, Professor Martin Fussenegger, said chips containing other combinations of genes could be developed to tackle other illnesses.
If effective, it would provide an alternative to diet pills, which have to be taken several times a day, as well as to expensive and invasive obesity survey such as gastric banding.