The Key to Fighting Obesity May Be a Pill That Vibrates in the Stomach

 I am fat and I know that this is not a noble road that will lead to a healthy life and a prosperous age. The fact is that according to the World Obesity Atlas 2023 study, as many as 41% of Malaysians will be classified as obese by 2035. How can we fight obesity which also causes heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer? The answer may be a vibrating pill developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

MIT researchers realized that the human stomach will expand when filled with food. Movement in these muscles stimulates mechanoreceptors which then send signals to the brain to secrete hormones that say the stomach is full. This gives rise to the idea of stimulating mechanoreceptors to give the same signal even when the stomach is not yet full.

The Vibrating Ingestible BioElectronic Stimulator (VIBES) pill was developed so that it only vibrates when it enters the stomach. In a study on pigs in the laboratory, the amount of food taken was reduced by 40% if they were given VIBES before starting to eat. The weight gain rate of pigs is also slower than usual.

VIBES will vibrate for up to 30 minutes before coming out of the anus after 3-4 days. The researchers realized that the VIBES pill in its current iteration was still too expensive to take every day and therefore came up with a version that could be turned off using an app and could last longer in the stomach.

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