Innovation That Matters

Implantable device helps track and control obese patients' hunger

Sport & Fitness

The abiliti system is an implantable technology designed with weight loss in mind.

We’ve seen an increase in the number of innovations involving electronic body implants over the past few years, but we came across a particularly intriguing example recently. Following on from stories about the Proteus ingestible sensor and biodegradable electronic implants, the abiliti system is an implantable technology designed with weight loss in mind. Based on the technology in cardiac pacemakers, the abiliti system is first implanted laparoscopically in the anterior side of the patient’s stomach; a stimulator electrode is placed on the lesser curvature of the stomach while a diagnostic probe, which detects food or drink entering the stomach, is placed across the wall of the stomach. Once in place, the abiliti system’s onboard food and activity sensors automatically track details of consumption and activity, and can send that information wirelessly to a computer for the patient and physician to view. Meanwhile, a stimulator component sends low-level electrical impulses to the stomach when the patient eats or drinks, helping the person feel full before the stomach is actually full and thereby causing them to eat less. Since the anatomy of the stomach and intestines is not changed, clinical experience with the abiliti system has shown virtually none of the nausea, diarrhea and other side effects seen with gastric bypass surgery and gastric banding, its maker says. Targeting patients with a BMI between 35 and 55, the abiliti system is the brainchild of California-based IntraPace. So far, it has received the CE Mark in the European Union, but is not available in the United States. Weight loss entrepreneurs the world over: one to get involved in? Spotted by: Lily Dixon



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