Based on the response Natalja's thread is getting, I thought some of you may want to learn about this new device.

I wish I could participate in the study but, unfortunately, the closest location is in Rochester, NY.

Follow the link for study locations (13 in the US, 1 in The Netherlands and 1 in Italy) and a short demo:

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., April 13, 2009 – Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., is among 15 centers worldwide studying the safety and effectiveness of an innovative, surgically implanted, investigational device for treating gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD).
"Medical therapy is effective in controlling and suppressing acid production in the stomach but does not address the source of the reflux, which is a malfunctioning esophageal sphincter," said C. Daniel Smith, M.D., a Mayo Clinic surgeon investigating the new treatment. "This new device is designed to restore the function of the esophageal sphincter and prevent reflux."

If the device proves effective, Dr. Smith says, "It could make a significant difference in the treatment options we can offer patients."

The device is a ring of magnetic beads that is placed laparoscopically using small incisions in a procedure that takes less than an hour. The magnetic ring helps to keep the sphincter closed, but the magnets release and allow the valve to open under the pressure of food or drink in the esophagus. The system was evaluated in a feasibility study, which validated its ability to significantly reduce the incidence of reflux, restoring acid exposure to normal levels for most of patients in the study. The current clinical study will evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the system.