Elon Musk wants to use Neuralink brain chip for fat loss, but concerns gain weight


Musk previously suggested that BCIs could address severe depression, morbid obesity, and sleep disorders

Tesla Inc. founder Elon Musk speaks at the unveiling event by The Boring Company for the test tunnel of a proposed underground transportation network across Los Angeles County, in Hawthorne, California, US December 18, 2018.—Reuters
Tesla Inc. founder Elon Musk speaks at the unveiling event by “The Boring Company” for the test tunnel of a proposed underground transportation network across Los Angeles County, in Hawthorne, California, US December 18, 2018.—Reuters 

Renowned entrepreneur Elon Musk’s proposal to utilise Neuralink, his brain-computer interface (BCI) venture, for weight loss has raised safety concerns among experts. 

Musk previously suggested that BCIs could address issues like severe depression, morbid obesity, and sleep disorders. 

However, critics argue that the invasive nature of BCI procedures, involving brain surgery and potential risks, makes them less favourable compared to alternative weight-loss interventions.

While BCIs like Neuralink have demonstrated success in aiding individuals with paralysis, the prospect of using them for weight control raises ethical and safety considerations. 

The US Government Accountability Office highlights surgical risks such as infection and rejection associated with implanted BCIs.

In contrast, a new class of drugs known as “glucagon-like peptide 1 agonists” (GLP-1s) presents a safer and more effective option for weight loss. 

GLP-1s, initially designed for diabetes treatment, have shown appetite-suppressing effects by slowing the movement of food through the digestive system. 

The US Food and Drug Administration recently approved Eli Lilly’s GLP-1 drug, Zepbound, specifically for obesity treatment.

The safety and efficacy of GLP-1 drugs, administered through injections, have been affirmed through large-scale trials. 

Importantly, these drugs are recommended in conjunction with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity. 

Experts emphasise that GLP-1 drugs offer a molecular approach to hunger control with fewer risks compared to invasive BCI procedures.

Critics underscore the potential for abuse and adverse effects associated with hunger-controlling interventions, whether through implants or drugs. 

However, medical professionals argue that proper screening can identify individuals at risk of eating disorders, minimising potential harm. 

The historical precedent of the Minnesota Starvation Experiment illustrates the complex relationship between food restriction and psychological effects, emphasising the importance of cautious approaches to weight-loss interventions.

In conclusion, the availability of safe and effective GLP-1 drugs suggests a more viable path for weight-loss interventions than invasive BCIs.

Experts urge thorough exploration of alternative options, including lifestyle changes and pharmaceutical interventions, before considering experimental brain-chip procedures for conditions with established, safer alternatives.



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