A 50-year-old overweight diabetic was at a barbecue eating more than was good for him when he suddenly got a painful reminder to stop. 'An electric pulse seemed to be squeezing my stomach. The pain was so intense that I cannot use words to describe it,' he said. The man, who does not want to be named, is one of the first diabetics to be fitted with a device that sends out electric impulses to control appetite when their weight endangers their health. The pacemaker-like device, developed by Chinese University researchers, stimulates the stomach muscles, causing them to contract and make the users feel full sooner. The man said he had lost 8kg, his blood glucose level was down by about a quarter and his medication had been cut by two-thirds. About 13 per cent of the city's population are diabetic, of whom half are overweight or obese. They usually need drugs or insulin injections to control their blood sugar level. The new device is aimed at patients who are moderately obese and for whom weight-loss surgery, which involves removing part of the stomach, is unsuitable. The man is one of four patients fitted with the device in February as part of a clinical trial. Three months later all of them had reduced their food intake and seen reductions in their weight, waistlines and blood pressure. Dr Simon Wong Kin-hung, a professor at the university, said the procedure would cost patients HK$50,000 to HK$100,000.