Scientists have come up with a new alternative to traditional weight-loss surgery that involves placing a flexible tube in the small intestine that blocks nutrient absorption, combats obesity, and enhances the metabolism of blood sugar.
The technique, detailed in the current issue of the British medical journal Gut
, has only been tried in laboratory mice. But researchers from the Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen and the University of Cincinnati say the approach will also work in people and can be refined to offer an alternative to bariatric surgeries — such as a gastric bypass.
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The international team that developed the new technique noted traditional bariatric surgeries have been shown to reduce obesity and even reverse diabetes in some patients. But they are highly invasive and often permanent procedures.
But the new approach is equally efficient but less invasive than surgery.
In tests of the new technique, the scientists implanted a flexible tube — called a DES (duodenal-endoluminal sleeve) — in the small intestine of mice and found that it reduced obesity while improving glucose metabolism. The techniques is not only less invasive than surgery, but the tube can also be removed at any time.
The team is now conducting additional studies to refine the technique so it can be used successfully in humans, potentially in combination with hormone based drug therapies.
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