FDA approves appetite-zapping implant for obese patients

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal regulators have approved an appetite-suppressing implant designed to treat obesity by zapping nerves that connect the stomach and the brain.

The Maestro Rechargeable System uses electrodes implanted in the abdomen to stimulate the vagus nerve, which signals to the brain that the stomach is empty or full. Patients and doctors can adjust the device settings using external controllers.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the device for patients 18 and older who have been unable to lose weight via other methods and have a body mass index of 35 to 40 with one other obesity-related health condition, such as diabetes. BMI is an estimate of body fat based on weight and height used to calculate obesity. Someone who is 5-foot-9 and weighs 240 has a BMI of 35.

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