FDA approves of “programming” away obesity


Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Columnist Ian Timberlake argues that the “fat acceptance movement” is sending out a false acceptance message about obesity.

Sam Vander Forest

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Maestro Rechargeable System, a weight loss device that targets the nerve pathway between the brain and the stomach, at the very beginning of this New Year.

This device is the first FDA-approved obesity device since 2007, and is to be used on certain patients who have a body mass index of 35 to 45 “with at least one other obesity-related condition, such as type 2 diabetes,” according to the FDA press release.

Maestro consists of an electrical pulse generator, wire leads and electrodes implanted surgically into the abdomen, which allows it to control the feelings of hunger and fullness sent to the brain. It also contains external controllers that allow the patient to recharge the device and essentially allows the doctor to adjust its settings for optimal results. This all sounds crazy, right? We’re almost to the point with technology that we can almost “program away” health issues.

The FDA’s Gastroenterology and Urology Devices Panel, as well as the manufacturer, EnteroMedics, have studied the device extensively and so far everyone, even patients agree that the benefits outweigh the risks.

Although the product is in early stages of testing and approval from all medical experts, it has been reported by the International Business Times that is will hit the market in the U.S. by the end of 2015.

Science and technology has always been at the forefront of advancing our methods and way of life, but being able to electronically program our bodies to achieve peak results is something that no one saw possible 20 years ago. We live in a beautiful age and it will be interesting to see what global health looks like by 2050.