Freezing the ‘Hunger Nerve’

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Diets often fail as long-term solutions for many people trying to lose weight. But new research suggests that freezing the so-called hunger nerve could suppress hunger and be an effective new treatment for those struggling with obesity. When the stomach is empty, a branch of the vagus nerve called the posterior vagal trunk kicks into action, sending hunger signals to the brain. Guided by CT scan images, researchers used a probe to freeze this nerve in 10 obese women and men, with the aim of dampening its signal. “We’re not trying to eliminate this biological response, only reduce the strength of this signal to the brain,” the study’s lead author, David Prologo, tells ScienceDaily​.com. The preliminary results of the study suggest the nerve-freezing procedure may do just that. None of the subjects experienced side effects, but all of them reported feeling more satisfied and less hungry 90 days later. They also slimmed down. On average, the subjects lost 3.6 percent of their body weight and experienced a 13.9 percent drop in their body mass index (BMI). The researchers say their findings must be confirmed with larger, long-term studies.

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