Monday, February 4, 2013

New weapons in the war against obesity

Just when you think you’ve seen everything, along comes the AspireAssist. This device, not yet FDA-approved, consists of a tube implanted in the stomach which leads to a port which is exposed on the surface of the abdomen.

Now, I’m not making this up.

You can eat whatever you want. Then 20 minutes after your meal, you attach a pump to the port and siphon and lavage the contents of your stomach into a bucket or basin, I guess. The manufacturer says that this will remove about a third of what is eaten leading to weight loss if done after every meal.

It doesn’t tell you how to gracefully dispose of the contents of the stomach, especially if you are dining at say, McDonald’s.

The only research on this product is in the form of a poster that was shown at a meeting of the Obesity Society in October of 2011. It was a randomized prospective trial of 11 patients who received the device plus “lifestyle intervention” compared to 7 patients who had only “lifestyle intervention.” It was funded by the maker of the device.

Ten subjects completed a year with the device vs. only 4 who stuck with the lifestyle intervention. Baseline characteristics were similar for the two groups. Percent weight loss and absolute weight loss were significantly greater in the device group. The average one-year weight loss was 20 kg.

However, 10/11 patients had pain more than 4 weeks after surgery and irritation and bleeding at the stoma occurred in about half the patients. Two had infections at the site. Constipation occurred in 6 patients and anemia in 4.

If you can stomach it, there is a video at the company’s website. Thankfully, it’s an animation.

Medgadget describes the concept as “high-tech bulimia.”

If that doesn’t appeal to you, how about something more simple?

Introducing the “smart fork.”

A flashing light and vibration tells you when you are eating too fast. It monitors how long it takes you to eat your meal. It has Bluetooth and USB connectivity so you can upload data to your phone or computer. Here’s an excessively overproduced video explaining it.

But wait, there’s more—it’s dishwasher safe, as a view from inside the dishwasher shows.

As far as I know, Ron Popeil has nothing to do with this product.

At least it looks a lot less messy than washing out your stomach through your abdominal wall.

I don’t think surgeons doing gastric bypasses have anything to worry about just yet.


Anonymous said...

I saw the website of the AspireAssist a few weeks ago, in fact it does recommend a method of disposal: the toilet. No joke, it literally tells you to simply drain into the toilet and flush it away. I'm disgusted, but not surprised, that someone came up with such a ludicrous idea. It doesn't teach responsibility of maintaining a diet, just that you can eat anything and not have to face the consequences. Though they do tout adjusting your diet, clearly it's not their selling point however. Ethically irresponsible at best, I hope primary care physicians have sense to advise against these sorts of procedures.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

I agree. I would hope no surgeon would agree to place this preposterous device, but I fear some would,

artiger said...

If someone is willing to have a tube implanted that would empty his/her stomach, allowing for continued engorgement, his/her main problem is above the neck, not below it.

Movies like "Idiocracy", and "Wall-E" are coming to mind with stuff like this.

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