Could Snipping A Nerve Slim You Down?
By Marci Robin, Senior Online Editor |
During the 1970s, snipping the vagus nerve, which runs from the brain to the abdomen, was used as an ulcer-relieving operation. Although this technique hadn't been used in years, doctors at the University of California, San Francisco, recently studied the procedure's potential as a weight loss option.
Researchers believe this could help control appetite, as the vagus nerve signals the body to store more fat and stimulate hunger hormones. Although a vagotomy wouldn't lead to the massive weight loss of gastric bypass surgery and the like, that might be the point; it might serve as a less involved option for those who wouldn't qualify for stomach and intestinal weight-loss surgeries because they aren't heavy enough.
For now, this is a very experimental procedure. However, the few test patients who have gotten a vagotomy lost a notable amount of weight without serious side effects. One patient did not lose any weight, and researchers believe this could mean that the nerve healed.