Modius represents a coming together of the most modern technology and neuroscience research which has actually existed for almost 50 years.
In 1972 a NASA research paper on fat reduction in animals showed a significant decrease in body fat. However, the researchers had mistakenly attributed their observations to non-specific effects, and failed to appreciate that it was vestibular stimulation causing the animals to become leaner.
Fast forward 30 years and a study in 2002 noted that vestibular stimulation causes a significant reduction in the body fat of animals.
The authors of this study commented that ‘after 8 weeks, percent body fat was significantly lower’, and that ‘it thus seems that the neurovestibular system can influence changes in body composition, particularly the mobilization and utilization of fat.’
Moreover, they also observed what they termed “a shift” to a leaner state’, which they interpreted as supporting a role for the neurovestibular system in helping the body become leaner.
Fast forward again to 2016 and new technology allows the use a small electrical pulse to non-invasively activate the same part of the vestibular system that had been found to be important in previous research – i.e. the otolith organs that are involved in detecting horizontal movement.
This is the technology that is used in Modius headsets.
Modius in the Lab
In the laboratory setting, at a leading University in California, human volunteers received vestibular stimulation while various assessments of both its immediate and longer-term impact were carried out.
An initial study looking at the effects of repeated stimulation over a period of 16 weeks, in nine of these subjects, observed a significant reduction in body fat as measured by whole body DXA scans.
The average reduction in abdominal fat in the active group was about 8% with the range being between 2 and 14%. This was statistically different from the control group and none of the volunteers changed their diets or exercise.
In the immediate term, providing just one hour of vestibular stimulation was found in six fasted subjects to increase the secretion of the hormones insulin and leptin, while simultaneously decreasing appetite. Interestingly, even though these subjects fasted, this response would typically be observed after eating a meal.
Dr Jason’s Trial
There is a long track record in medicine of doctors trying out theories upon themselves, and Dr Jason McKeown, founder of Modius, is no different.
During 2015 Dr Jason became a regular use of a MODIUS prototype and found, when combined with an active and healthy lifestyle, that he had a 44% reduction in body fat, with a simultaneous 2kg increase in lean muscle mass.
This result should not be viewed as typical, but it does give at least an indication of how far this device can take people on their ‘journey to lean’
2017 Real World Trials
Since September 2017 Modius has been seeping out
beyond the walls of academic and scientific theory and
in to the hands of real, ordinary people in the real and ordinary world.
After just a few months use we are already seeing some incredible stats come through.
1. More than 80% of users who reported data have lost weight.
2. Users are losing between 12-15 pounds in an
average period of eight weeks.
3. The more times users use the device the more weight they are losing.
Modius activates the vestibular system using a small electrical pulse. This activation then proceeds through to the brainstem and onwards into the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is a crucial area in how the brain maintains stable internal physiological processes within the body, part of which includes fat storage and appetite.
In this regard, there is thought to be a ‘set-point’ in the hypothalamus that acts to regulate body fat. This acts to modify feeding behaviour and metabolic rate, in order to maintain body mass composition within set parameters (it should really be called the set-spectrum) and does so in order to optimize energy utilization. As such, deviations too far in either direction from the set-point are strenuously resisted. This means not only is it hard to change body mass composition via diet and exercise but, even if you can, maintaining the new leaner composition in the long term is typically doomed to failure, as the brain, in effect, fights against the change.
The set-point for body mass composition that is determined by the central melanocortin system obviously varies from person to person and is influenced by both genetic and epigenetic factors. However, it appears that exposure to Western diets, particularly during childhood and adolescence, with their often excessive quantities of sugar and saturated fatty acids can damage neuronal populations within the hypothalamus and push the set-point for body fat upwards. This makes the overweight body composition appear to be the ‘new normal’ as far as the brain is concerned, and reverting to a leaner set-point once this has occurred can be very difficult.
For the Medics
The ability of vestibular stimulation to reduce total body fat appears to be mediated via a vestibulo-hypothalamic pathway. This reflects the vestibular system’s vital role in homeostasis and, indeed, vestibular input is known to project to multiple brainstem homeostatic sites, including the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus, which as stated, sits at the crux of the central melanocortin system.
Notably the medial vestibular nucleus is the main projection target of the utricle, which is the otolith organ that detects movement in the horizontal plane. Also, studies have shown that this same brain area is involved in the control of the sympathetic nerves running to fat deposits throughout the body.
In summary, it appears that the central melanocortin system interprets activation of the medial vestibular nucleus (by horizontal movements stimulating the utricle) to indicate a state of increased physical activity. In such a state of apparent increased activity, it is optimal, from an energy conservation point of view, for the body to have a leaner composition, in order to reduce unnecessary energy expenditure from carrying around excess fat.
Given its described connections to both sides of the autonomic nervous system the medial vestibular nucleus is well placed to reduce total body fat.
Thus, vestibular stimulation (such as that delivered by Modius), when repeatedly administered over time, causes recurrent activation of the medial vestibular nucleus, which we believe is taken by the central melanocortin system to indicate a state of chronically increased physical activity.
When this happens, the body naturally shifts towards a physically leaner state.
Careable Technology TM
Traditionally wearable technology has been focused on monitoring you, allowing you to see how many steps you’re walking, maybe what your heart rate is or how many calories you’re burning Careable TechnologyTM is wearable technology that goes beyond tracking and actually does something.
The last few years have seen a new wave of neuro-stimulation brands, each offering the chance to do more than just measure, but rather to have an actual, measurable effect on you.
This is the category Modius sits in too. It is a general wellness device and is intended solely to assist adults become leaner and achieve their physical goals whether they’re athletic or aesthetic.
We don’t just help you get lean by telling you your current weight-status or sending you messages about what a good job you’ve done by walking 8,000 steps, rather Modius uses neuro-technology to stimulate a small part of your brain… the impact is you’ll simply want to eat less.