US regulators have issued a green light for a first-of-its-kind weight loss treatment device that targets the nerve pathway between the brain and the stomach that controls feelings of hunger and fullness.  

The US Food and Drug Administration has given the Maestro Rechargeable System clearance to treat patients aged 18 and older who are unable lose weight with a weight-loss program, and who have a body mass index of 35 to 45 with at least one other obesity-related condition, such as type II diabetes.

The device consists of a rechargeable electrical pulse generator, wire leads and electrodes implanted surgically into the abdomen, and works by sending intermittent electrical pulses to the trunks in the abdominal vagus nerve, which is involved in regulating stomach emptying and signalling to the brain that the stomach feels empty or full. 

Although it is known that the electric stimulation blocks nerve activity between the brain and the stomach, the specific mechanisms for weight loss due to use of the device are unknown, the FDA said.