The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a bizarre new weight loss device that allows obese patients to pump partially digested food directly out of their own stomachs and into the toilet as soon as they have finished eating, and it’s making medical experts queasy.
The device – named AspireAssist – is intended for adults that are severely obese and non-responsive to other measures. To fit a patient with the device, a surgeon must cut a hole into their stomach and insert the tube, which is attached to a “disk-shaped port that lies outside the body,” according to the manufacturer’s statement.
However, the grotesque way in which it works has caused experts to label it as “assisted bulimia” as it simply replaces one destructive food habit (0vereating) with another (purging). Many experts have come out opposing the FDA’s decision, including Dr. Sajani Shah, bariatric surgeon at Tufts Medical Center, who told CBS News:
I heard about this device about a year or two ago at one of our meetings and I was shocked. It’s like giving someone bulimia… Basically, you can just vomit out [of] this tube.”
New York-based practitioner Dr. Mitchell Roslin, told CBS News an email
The Aspire device is an option that elicits a strong visceral response… The suctioned food, or sulcus, is similar to vomit. I think that this would be a deal breaker for most young active adults.
According to recent reports, a growing chorus of doctors are against this development, and one is even attempting to put together a list 4,000 physicians to sue the FDA on account of the device being unsafe and encouraging disordered eating.
Here’s a demonstration video of the device in action:
According to the FDA’s own warnings, patients are at risk of experiencing stomach pain, potential leakage, bleeding, indigestion, vomiting – even death – as a result of the device being fitted and used.
What’s more, there’s a notable disparity of information in terms of the side effects listed on the FDA website (which is very conclusive) and AspireAssist’s own site (which has a much shorter and less exhaustive list).
The FDA approved the device after reviewing results from a small clinical trial of 111 patients treated with AspireAssist and ‘lifestyle therapy’, together with 60 control patients who only had the lifestyle therapy. After a year, AspireAssist users lost 12.1% of their body weight compared to 3.6% for the control patients. The records suggest that the trial ends in 2020 however – so it’s strange that the FDA should approve this so early, and with the caveat of so many risks.
It’s staggering that this treatment has even been considered for the FDA’s consideration – never mind being approved as it seriously undermines the work of doctors, dietitians and nutritionists in supporting patients in undertaking the real work in repairing their relationship with food.
Featured image via YouTube
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?