A team of scientists from Emory University, in the USA, has managed to suppress appetite in obese people by freezing the nerve responsible for producing hunger sensation. The results of the study have been presented at the scientific conference that the Society of Interventional Radiology holds every year in the US.
The method consists of literally freezing hunger, for which the vagal trunk is responsible
The study’s leading author, Dr. David Prologo, and his team conducted the study on 10 men and women who suffered from moderate and mild obesity, which is a condition that is met when the body mass index (BMI) ranges between 30 and 37 and that is not enough, despite its severity, to undergo more invasive techniques such as gastric surgery.
The scientists insert a needle through the back of the neck using a percutaneous catheter that directed the needle to the posterior vagal trunk. Via this technique, the researchers were able to inject a nerve a gas that freezes it and destroys the part of the vagal trunk’s nerves connected to the brain, which are the ones that trigger the hunger sensation.
“The intervention lasts about 30 minutes and is totally painless”, says Prologo.
The results were promising
53% of patients say that, after the intervention, they no longer felt hunger in the same way they’ve used to feel, 30% felt just a very low sensation of hunger, while 17% were still able to feel the hunger sensation but, according to them, at a lower level than usual.
The study continued with a follow-up period of 12 months and, after that, the researchers noted that up to 3.6% of the initial participants’ weight was lost.
However, after around one year after the injection, the vagal trunk’s nerves responsible for hunger sensation regenerates completely.
“The operation was already used with other diseases to alleviate chronic pain”, Prologo explained and then added that the treatment is absolutely safe and the hunger sensation can’t be completely eliminated.
In conclusion, researchers found an innovative way to lose weight by freezing the nerves responsible for triggering the hunger sensation.