A stomach pump was approved by the Federal Drug Administration yesterday, which could help curb the obesity epidemic in the United States.
The FDA quoted Dr. William Maisel, who is the deputy director of science at the FDA and chief scientist in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, in a press release on their website as saying the following.
“The AspireAssist approach helps provide effective control of calorie absorption, which is a key principle of weight management therapy. Patients need to be regularly monitored by their health care provider and should follow a lifestyle program to help them develop healthier eating habits and reduce their calorie intake.”
The press release for the approved stomach pump also stated that the device shouldn’t be implanted in anybody who has suffered — or does suffer — from an eating disorder, that it can’t be prescribed to anybody under the age of 22, and requires that the patient has tried and failed to lose weight by any other approved methods that might be available.
The pump is made by a company call Aspire Bariatrics, which says that the pump is inserted into the stomach via an incision in the abdomen, and according to the company’s website, it can be easily removed with a “15 minute procedure.” Much like any device implanted surgically in the body. However, the pump does come with possible complications, including but not limited to infection, potential leakage, and bleeding. One reason for some of these side effects — and an important reason to continue seeing your doctor after implementation — is that when patients start to eventually lose large amounts of weight the “disk,” which is normally pressed up flush against the skin, can get jostled and come out of it’s strategically determined area.
A clinical trial for the approved stomach pump, which lasted for an entire year and contained 111 patients — 51 of which had the stomach pump installed, with the other 60 only receiving lifestyle therapy — showed that after a year of implementation those who used the pump lost almost three and a half times the weight that the control group did. The exact numbers are 12.1 percent of total body weight for those with the pump and 3.6 percent for those who didn’t have it.
Once a patient’s stomach pump is approved and installed, they can drain about a third of the calories that they consume through the pump, which takes about five to 10 minutes to drain completely, and can be activated half an hour after consuming a meal.
Obesity is a serious problem in the United States not only from a public health standpoint, but also economically, as the amount of money on average that obese people spend on their healthcare every year is nearly $1,500 more than those who aren’t overweight.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association — or JAMA —, which is also on the Center for Disease Control’s website, showed that in 2008 the number of obese adults in the United States had reached a third of the population and that youth obesity rates were hovering around 17 percent.
What’s interesting about obesity is that depending on what you eat, it’s almost perpetual in nature. If you eat a lot, but what you’re eating doesn’t contain the nutrients that your body needs in order to do its job you’re going to continue to be hungry. This is because your body is saying it needs something, which forces the person to eat more, but if all they eat is something that they don’t need then they’re going to both continue to be hungry and also gain weight. This is a vicious cycle but is also what this new stomach pump approved by the FDA might be able to help undercut if people are willing to work with the program.
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