The ultimate slimming hack is to starve the belly of blood
Study participants kept slimmer figures and suppressed hunger for at least a year with no reduction in their quality of life
A new minimally invasive treatment for obesity that slows the flow of blood to the stomach promises to reduce reliance on gastric band operations.
A trial of 20 patients in the US is being hailed as a possible new breakthrough after the participants sustained significant weight loss and suppressed hunger while enjoying an improved quality of life for at least a year.
The method, known as bariatric embolisation, involves introducing microscopic spheres into the arteries using a catheter that restricts the supply of blood to the stomach.
The spheres do not restrict blood flow enough to cause tissue damage, but the blockage is sufficient to suppress the production of hunger-stimulating hormones.
The trial by Johns Hopkins University found that, on average, excess weight loss was 8.2% after one month, 11% at three months, 12.8% at six months and 11.5% a year after the procedure.
The patients, all of whom were severely obese, also showed an increase in early satiety – the feeling of being full or satisfied.
Moreover, their metabolism showed improvements, and they displayed increased level of high-density lipoprotein, the so-called “good” cholesterol.
The results, published in the journal Radiology, are significant because they offer a possible alternative to other far more invasive forms of bariatric surgery, such as smothering hunger by reducing the size of the stomach using a gastric band.
“This is a great step forward for this procedure in establishing early feasibility, safety and early efficacy,” said Dr Clifford Weiss, who led the study.
“It is fulfilling to all of us to see something that started as an idea develop through about a decade of research and then go all the way to an initial clinical trial.
“The reality is that obesity itself is an individualised disease that requires individualised treatments.”
The research team cautioned that the method would need to be tried in larger cohorts of patients, including participants given a placebo.
Britain is in the midst of an obesity crisis, with more than 550 new cases of type 2 diabetes – a common consequence – diagnosed every day.
Dieting and lifestyle changes are recommended first by doctors, but for some patients, these have limited effects.
Gastric interventions have been shown to prompt dramatic weight loss for many patients, as well as reversing diabetes.
– © Telegraph Media Group (2019)