4 Oct 2014

Chips to help curb obesity

From This Way Up, 1:10 pm on 4 October 2014

"There's 800 deaths associated with obesity a week in the UK and in the USA, about the same number every day," Professor Bloom says.

Stephen Bloom by Sharon GouldObesity is the biggest pandemic the world has ever seen according to a leading obesity researcher, but it could be curbed through the implantation of a microchip to trick the brain.

Professor Sir Stephen Bloom is a pioneer in obesity research and head of the diabetes, endocrinology and metabolism division of Imperial College London in Hammersmith Hospital in London. He's  been working on solutions to this global problem.

Lots of health issues have been linked to obesity, including diabetes, hypertension and organ failure. Professor Boom says in the last five years, more research has shown cancer is twice as common in the obese, with uterus cancer being five times more common in those who are obese.

He's working on two solutions to the obesity epidemic that is plaguing not only Australian, New Zealand, The USA and the UK, but India and China too. One uses hormone therapy, the other involves having a microchip implanted.

Professor Bloom says the while the microchip might not appeal to everyone, "in its final setting, it will be like one of those pacemakers for the heart. That's been a tremendous success... so it's perfectly feasible".

Photograph of Stephen Bloom by Sharon Gould.