It's always cool to hear about new ways pacemaker-like therapies can be used to improve patients' lives.
And now there might be some hope of using pacing therapy to help with weight loss by stimulating the vagus nerve. The company generating the most excitement right now is EnteroMedics. Using vagal nerve stimulation, they hope to decrease people's weight by 25%. Seems plausible, especially since stimulating the vagus nerve might cause early satiety. But the vagus nerve is also responsible for the SLUD syndrome: Salivation, Lacrimation, Urination and Defacation as well as heart rate slowing and the development of atrial fibrillation.
Their trial of this device could get interesting, eh?
Unfortunately, the device still has to be surgically implanted - often under general anesthesia - and the risks of depressing respirations in morbidly obese individuals can be considerable. But, like bariatric surgery, if found to be effective and with few side effects, they might be on to something here.