San Diego Research Study Exploring a New Potential Approach to Weight Loss


Next Steps

  1. Complete the study questionnaire
  2. Understand if you’re eligible to participate
Click Here

About the Study

Research Center: University of California San Diego – Exercise and Physical Activity Resource Center (EPARC)
Location: La Jolla, CA 92103, United States
Lead Researcher: Erik S. Viirre, MD, PhD
IRB Committee: This study has been reviewed and approved by the University of California San Diego Institutional Review Board

Obesity is an ongoing and worsening problem worldwide. It has been known that diets rich in sugar and fat contribute to obesity. However, current research suggests that having these diets during childhood causes damage to the brain. This disturbance leads to the brain not knowing how much fat there should be in the body. 
Researchers at the University of California San Diego are constantly seeking ways to promote health among adults. This research study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of a potential study device in addition to a lifestyle modification program to reduce excess weight and body fat. The study device is non-invasive. Researchers hope that this study would present an alternative that can produce a more efficient way to lose fat and maintain healthy body weight.

Why Participate? 

  • Participants may experience improvements to their weight. The study device may stimulate accelerated weight loss, with more of the lost weight coming from fat.
  • Participants will be contributing valuable information that may benefit others also struggling with excessive weight in the future.
  • Participants will be compensated up to $200 for participating in this study. Compensation will only be provided to eligible participants upon completion of certain study visits. The study team can further explain this.
  • Participants will be helping to advance research focused on weight loss through lifestyle modification and a non-invasive device. 
  • Participants will be receiving health coaching and dietitian services during the study.

Your Rights

  • If you decide to participate in the study and later feel that you no longer wish to be part of it, you can withdraw at any time.
  • Any information that you provide will be kept strictly confidential, except as required by law.
  • Qualified health professionals will monitor your health as it relates to the study.

Who Can Participate?

  • Men and women aged 22-80 years old who have overweight or obesity defined by a BMI of equal to or greater than 27kg/m2
  • Must have a stable body weight (no change over 20% in either direction within the previous year) 
  • Must not have a weight loss device implant or a non-invasive weight loss device
  • Must agree to not use prescription or over-the-counter weight loss medications during the study period 
  • Must not have bariatric surgery or stomach resection surgery
  • Must have access to Wi-Fi
  • Must not have cirrhosis, chronic pancreatitis, liver failure, kidney failure, heart failure, diabetes, heart attack, or stroke
  • Must be able to attend 3 study visits at the research site over approximately 6 months
  • Must agree to not start smoking or vaping tobacco for the duration of the study

Key Study Details

  • Participants will be provided with the study device to be taken home and worn for 1 hour each day. 
    • The study device will be placed on the head (like wearing headphones). This device is controlled via an app that is installed in an iPod (participants may keep the iPod upon completing the study).
    • The study device will provide a small electrical current to the skin behind the ears to stimulate the brain.
    • Participants are encouraged to use the device at least 5 hours per week. 
    • It is important to note that the study device will turn off after 1 hour of being used and will be available to be used the next day.
  • Participants must be willing to receive and answer communications from the study team via emails or calls throughout the study.
  • Participants will be provided with a diet plan to follow throughout the study. The research dietitian will assess the participants’ daily calorie needs, prescribe a diet and provide details and advice on how to achieve this.
  • Participation in this study involves following a hypocaloric diet prescribed by a dietitian and engaging with a weight loss mentoring program.

About the Research Center

University of California, San Diego

UC San Diego is transforming California and diverse global society by educating, generating, and disseminating knowledge and creative works, and by engaging in public service. They aim to prepare the next generation of global leaders to channel their passions into driving innovation, fueling economic growth, and making the world a better place.

Please note:

Due to the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, the researchers would like to assure the participants that ensuring the safety of the participants as well as the study staff is of utmost importance.

Study Location

What’s Next?

  1. Click the link to enter your contact details and take the study questionnaire.
  2. If eligible, a member of the research team will contact you to discuss the study and answer any questions you may have.
Click Here to Check Your Eligibility for This Study

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