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Technology makes life better, worse - Kevin Liles

I couldn't believe my eyes the other night when a news program reported that there is a new procedure to help people lose weight that involves a pacemaker being attached to the stomach.

It's called an implantable gastric stimulator, and it's basically the same pacemaker that's used in hearts. Except this one is placed in the abdomen and has wires that are attached to the stomach and send electrical impulses. Those currents fool the brain into thinking the stomach is full.

It's a much safer alternative to having your stomach stapled, and is only used in severely obese people who have failed at other weight-loss techniques.

Once implanted, doctors increase the intensity of the pacemaker until the patient feels uncomfortable, and then take it down a level.

Sounds like fun, doesn't it?

I know that there are people who have uncontrollable problems with their weight, like thyroid conditions, and need pacemakers and stomach stapling. But I just can't believe that people are willing to have a Black & Decker drill motor put in their gut so they can lose weight.

This new procedure can be done in about an hour as outpatient laproscopic surgery. It is one of the fastest growing operations in the United States and will be done on an estimated 100,000 people this year, CNN reported.

And as long as doctors keep coming up with ingenious ways to instantly change our weight, appearance and mood, Americans will continue to not worry about their problems until they're life-threatening.

People can now have several heart attacks and live to tell about it because operations like bypass surgery and angioplasty. I'm not saying theses things aren't good, because I know I would want to have it done if it happened to me. I just wonder how people's lives would be different if it weren't for this technology.

There wouldn't be room for a plan B. Obesity would mean death, and I believe that specter would keep people healthier.

And now that we can trick people's minds, it wouldn't be surprising to learn that researchers learned how to trick the minds of folks with all kinds of problems.

People who cheat on their spouses would be a good place to start. That would help a good portion of the marriages in this country, of which half end in divorce.

And think about the lives and families saved if people with addictions could be tricked into thinking that they weren't addicts and could shed their vices.

The world of politics could certainly use some mind-tricking devices – in a good way. Imagine if all politicians had to undergo outpatient surgery to have a device forcing them to speak to the public without any spin.

That's too good to be true.

Or what about terrorism? Wouldn't that technology be put to good use if it were used to trick the minds of the Osama bin Ladens and other terrorists of the world?

I know that's a stretch, but it seems that anything's possible these days.

Kevin Liles covers government and politics at the News-Daily. He can be reached at 770-478-5753, ext. 281 or at kliles@news-daily.com