For reasons that should be obvious to any website from which I order clothing, I’m always on the lookout for new weight-loss methods.
Specifically, I’m in the market for a method which requires:
- Absolutely no reduction in caloric intake.
- No exercise whatsoever.
The truth is, for most of my adult life, I’ve been steadfastly maintaining my rotund appearance while waiting for technology to come up with the fitness equivalent of a spray tan. “Just step into this booth, Mr. Hallen. You remembered to bring skinny clothes to go home in, right?”
So imagine my excitement recently when, while reading the New York Post with my morning bagel and schmear, I came across this headline:
FDA APPROVES ELECTRONIC DEVICE FOR BATTLE OF THE BULGE
The device in question is the Maestro Rechargeable System, described as “a surgically implanted device that zaps the nerves connecting the stomach and brain, thus suppressing the appetite.”
I put down my bagel long enough to rid myself of the mental image of a commuter train full of thin people jerking around like the late Joe Cocker performing “With a Little Help from My Friends” while tripping at Woodstock.
Let’s see…surgery? Implanted electronic device? Nerve zapping? I don’t think anything could go wrong with something like that, do you?
In the article, the manufacturer, EnteroMedics of St. Paul, Minn., goes into great detail about the procedure:
“The implanted, battery-operated device would be installed just below the rib cage and send electrical impulses to the vagus nerve, which goes from the stomach to the brain, and should abate feelings of hunger.”
I have no doubt that this is true, otherwise the FDA wouldn’t have approved it. (You can’t see it, but I’m holding up my “sarcasm” sign.) But here’s something else that’s true: overweight people usually aren’t overweight because they eat when they’re hungry. They’re overweight because they eat when they’re not hungry. So how is sending electricity coursing through my vague nerves to make me feel full going to stop me from grabbing a cookie off the plate every time I pass by it on the way to the cabinet where we keep the Doritos?
What we fat people need is a new kind of gastric bypass device wherein we can eat all we want out of boredom, anxiety, depression, or the need to snack while watching sports and have the food (or whatever the hell we’re eating) bypass our gastrics and everything else and go right out the other end.
Now that would be helpful.
Nevertheless, I continued reading The Post article because there was something I was curious about and, besides, I hadn’t finished my bagel.
Did they say this device was rechargeable? Yes, indeed they did. According to the article, “recharging would take about 90 minutes and have to be done every other day.”
I now had a mental image of a desktop. My mental camera panned across it to see an iPhone plugged into its charger, then a Kindle, then a laptop, and then a skinny person. An alternative image then appeared: a thin person standing next to a Chevy Volt at one of those “charge your car” spaces they have in parking lots around here.
Seriously? You have to plug yourself in for an hour and a half every other day? If you forget, and the battery dies, do you have to reboot yourself?
The answer to the second question is, well, the article doesn’t say. The answer to the first question is no…sort of.
You don’t have to plug yourself in because “the implant’s battery would be fueled by an external recharger that would pump in energy-carrying radio waves.”
Oh, great. So not only am I getting small electric shocks all day, I also have The Morning Zoo and Howard Stern broadcasting along my nervous system!
How safe can that be?
Ah, but the FDA approved it, so it must be at least as safe as drugs like Avandia, which only caused 83,000 heart attacks over eight years and didn’t even involve surgery or nerve zapping. (I can’t find my “sarcasm” sign now. Did I absent-mindedly eat it?)
See you soon.