Pacemaker technology extends far beyond the heart

Using electrical stimulation to regulate a heart that’s not beating right (not fast, slow, or often enough) has been around for 50 years. Today’s versions of pacemakers are miraculously non-intrusive compared to the massive boxes and tag-along trolleys of those first ones. Read a quick history here by a Staten Island physician.

Last year scientists began experimenting with using electrical impulse technology to “rewire the body” and relieve or at least ease some symptoms of epilepsy, depression, obesity, diabetes, and more. Though treatment with these devices is expensive and not without risks, the lack of side effects and the excellent results are very promising. One doctor speculates that within a couple of years electrical devices will replace stomach stapling as the treatment of choice for obesity.

Well, first we had diet pills (addictive or dangerous to the heart), then we had liposuction (ugh), then wiring jaws shut or bariatric surgery with liquid diets (often producing unacceptable levels of triglycerides and other problems–by the way, see earlier post about how profitable this surgery is for hospitals). After all this, it’s good to hear of something that uses the methods our own bodies use. For those who struggle with obesity, this could be truly a godsend.