So…let’s put on our imagination caps for a moment and go through my day so far. I don’t do breakfast…never really have. So, for me, I usually log my coffee (black, no sugar) as 0 points. Mid-morning, I have a protein bar of some sort. This averages between 6-8 points depending on the flavor or brand. Fairly standard.
I had three chicken tacos for lunch today along with some tortilla chips and salsa. That’s an estimated 19 points for lunch…give or take.
It’s now mid-afternoon and whether it’s because I’m just in an odd mood, or bored, or just didn’t eat enough to feel satisfied at lunch…I’m hungry. If I make a trip to the vending machine, I’ll blow the rest of my points on a Snickers bar or a honeybun or something…leaving me bored and unsatisfied as I finish my Uno salad later tonight. But…what if I could turn off that feeling of hunger so I can make it through the afternoon without ruining my chances at a filling dinner?
In that alternate reality, I would reach into my pocket and pull out my appetite suppressant: a key fob-sized thing with a button or maybe two buttons on it. With a press of a button (hopefully not to be accompanied by a honking noise a-la car being locked/unlocked), this little thingy sends a signal to a device implanted in my back that is attached to my posterior vagal trunk, commonly known as the “hunger nerve” that sends signals to my brain telling me I need to eat.
Boom…with a push of a button, the hunger pangs are gone. I go about my day, less distracted by my “Fat boy’s gotta eat” urges that have been suppressed, and go home to have a sensible dinner.
That, friends, is a possible future for us humans. In a world where humans are utilizing body-hacking in such lifesaving ways as pacemakers; brain implants to help minimize Parkinson’s Disease; all the way to the quirky and somewhat contentious hobby-level body hacks like sub-dermal LED screens or RFID tags, the idea of turning on or off nerve signals isn’t unheard of. Take, for instance, the work being done with prosthetic limbs that can provide the user with a way to FEEL what their bionic fingers are touching.
Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta just completed a clinical on ten volunteers that might pave the way for a reality like the one I just described. I’m linking you to a fascinating synopsis that teases the imagination a bit. It also freaks me out, because I’m the kid that passed out during frog dissection. All that talk about surgical procedures involving probes and whatnot gets to me. I don’t think I could do it. I’d chicken out and end up streaking through the hospital on my way to the nearest exit.
So, for all of y’all out there…is this a thing you’d be willing to try, or is it too Sci-Fi for you?