Headset Could Help Reverse Diabetes and Obesity
by Mohammed Arafat
Thursday 27th of January 2022
Arab Health - Dubia,
After three years of research and almost £15 million (Dh74m) of investment, a Northern Ireland medical company stated that a headset that delivers small electrical pulses to the brain and is worn for just one hour a day could be an inexpensive alternative to treating diabetes and obesity.
The company has said the device could soon offer a non-invasive alternative to medication or brain implant surgery, and that it could be used to target diabetes and metabolism through harmless electric pulses.
Neuromodulation is a science that stimulates the senses to produce a natural biological response, which can be done by using small doses of stimulation directly somewhere in the brain.
The Vestal DM device is said to improve the part of the brain that protects against type 2 diabetes and obesity by controlling blood sugar and appetite.
Dr McKeown, the neuroscientist who has received a £2 million (Dh9m) UK government innovation grant for his research said that the device stimulates the brain to regulate body control, such as respiration, heart rate and blood sugar.
“If those areas are not working well, the brain requires stimulation that is usually delivered via an implant and an expensive surgery that typically costs around $30,000.” He added.
He also mentioned that it has a low-risk option to treat diabetes, considering around a billion people worldwide have either diabetes or pre-diabetes.
With a cost of $500, the device targets the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves via applied electrodes. This happens by sending signals into the hypothalamus region of the brain that regulates the body’s metabolic processes like a thermostat, and then the results can be tracked via a mobile app.
A trial that lasted 15 weeks tested the device on 30 Indian patients with type two diabetes. They used it for about five hours a week over a three-month period, to see how effective it was in reducing blood sugar levels.
Now that the device is tested and displayed, the company is seeking US Food and Drug Administration approval.