The device developed by a team at Kumamoto University is claimed to affect visceral fat loss and enhance blood glucose (sugar) by helping overweight or elderly people exercise, which is effective for the treatment of diabetes.

The belt-type medical device uses a special rubber to transmit mild electrical stimulation (MES) and heat shock (HS).

A clinical trial with the belt on 40 obese treat type 2 diabetes men found reductions in visceral fat, improved insulin resistance, and a significant improvement in glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c).

About half of all subjects (52.5%) achieved less than 7.0% HbA1c, which is a treatment goal for diabetes.

The initial trial demonstrated that the HSR activation produced a large therapeutic effect.

In the next trial, 60 obese patients with type 2 diabetes from both genders were subject to a 12-week treatment with the belt.

Trial subjects received treatments for 60 minutes each time, and were divided into three groups of 2, 4, and 7 treatments a week.

In the group with 2 treatments per week, visceral fat was reduced 5.37 cm2 and A1C dropped 0.10%; in the group with 4 treatments, visceral fat declined 14.24 cm2 and A1C declined 0.36%; and in the group with 7 treatments, visceral fat declined 16.45 cm2 and A1C dropped 0.65%.

Test subjects also experienced improvements in chronic inflammation, fatty liver markers, renal function, and lipid profile.

In addition, the patients using the belt while taking a dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitor, the treat type 2 diabetes drug class most often used in Japan, showed an even stronger blood glucose improvement.

Tatsuya Kondo, who led the research, said: "This device is very easy to use since it simply attaches to the abdomen, and it has a low-impact on the patient. One can expect the effects to be similar to exercise therapy.

"Even in patients who have difficulty exercising, such as those who are overweight, elderly, or have some form of disability, this device can be expected to provide acceptable treatment in addition to conventional diabetic medical care."

Image: The MES+HS wearable medical device. Photo: courtesy of Kumamoto University.