Gas-Filled Balloons May Be A New Option For Tackling Obesity

Posted: May 25 2016, 10:17am CDT | by , Updated: May 25 2016, 10:04pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News


Gas-Filled Balloons May be a New Option for Tackling Obesity
Credit: Obalon

The swallowable, gas-filled balloons make people feel fuller and help them eat less.

People who struggle to get rid of excessive weight may soon have a new treatment option in the form of gas-filled balloons. Overweight people will only need to swallow a capsule that is stuffed with a balloon. Then, the balloon will be filled with nitrogen-based gas with the help of a thin tube attached to it and it will help people eat less.

The swallowable balloon will make people feel full sooner and help them take their hands off the food quickly than before. 

“At this point, millions and millions of Americans who have obesity are not being adequately treated," said lead researcher Dr. Shelby Sullivan from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “These devices give us an option that eliminates the need to take medications.”

Researchers have tested the device on 185 obese people who had a body-mass index (BMI) between 30 and 40. Participants were given three balloons over time which had been removed after the three months. Another separate group of 181 people served as a control group. They were given sugar pills in place of balloons to find the difference between the two methods. 

Researchers found that those who received the balloon treatment named Obalon balloon treatment lost almost twice as much weight compared to those in the control group. On average, people with balloon treatment shed 6.81 percent body weight while the control group lost weight with an average 3.59 percent.

“Our research shows that the studied balloon system can help patients lose almost twice as much weight compared with lifestyle changes alone,” said Sullivan. “This is important because weight loss is very difficult and a significant number of people are not successful in achieving their weight loss goals with diet changes and exercise.”

Obesity has become a global epidemic with more than 600 million people are obese worldwide. According to WHO, weight gain has doubled since 1980 and health authorities are struggling to come up with a desirable solution. The Obalon treatment may offer a new ray of hope for all those who are struggling with obesity or extra weight. 

The results of 6-month trial show that this treatment is far more effective than any other moderate life style therapy. Though, all participants experienced side effects of some sorts but overall they were mild in nature. The treatment has not been approved by U.S. Food and Drug Administration yet. But if it does get approval, it could potentially replace conventional weight loss treatment sooner or later.

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The Author

Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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