MIT obesity pill

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Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are developing a vibrating pill to help combat obesity. The pill, roughly the size of a standard multi-vitamin, contains a vibrating motor powered by a silver oxide battery. Once the pill reaches the stomach, gastric acid dissolves the outer layer, completing the circuit and initiating the vibration1. The vibration stimulates mechanoreceptors, which send a signal to the brain via the vagus cranial nerve. This activation triggers the production of insulin, GLP-1, C-peptide, and PYY hormones, which decrease hunger and increase the digestion process. The pill is likened to drinking a glass full of water before eating, a method recommended by dieticians to signal the brain that the stomach is full1. In animal tests, the pill was given 20 minutes before eating, which resulted in a reduction of food consumption by around 40%. The pill also stimulated the release of hormones that signal fullness and reduced the animals' food intake4. The animals did not show any signs of obstruction, perforation, or other negative impacts while the pill was in their digestive tract47. The pill, known as the Vibratory Ingestible BioElectronic Stimulator (VIBES), has only been tested in a handful of young Yorkshire pigs so far, but the results have been promising5. After the pill started vibrating, insulin levels in the pigs rose and levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin fell, similar to what happens when the stomach expands after a large meal5. The researchers are optimistic about the potential of the pill to trigger a natural sense of fullness, leading to automatic calorie restriction. They suggest that the pill could be taken on an as-needed basis, with a frequency aligned with regular meals6. The researchers are now working on scaling up the manufacturing of the capsules, which could enable clinical trials in humans7. However, it's important to note that this research is still in its early stages, and more long-term studies are needed, especially in humans, to confirm the safety and efficacy of this approach6.
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