LOS ANGELES, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 01/29/13 -- Our focus turns to EnteroMedics, which offers a new treatment approach currently in Phase III clinical trials, designed to help morbidly obese people lose weight.
EnteroMedics' approach may be a better solution for people who see little or no benefit from current treatments on the market. If the device proves successful, the company could end up being a very good investment.
The treatment device, currently in Phase III trials, acts similar to a pacemaker, but in this case for the vagal nerve. The system periodically inhibits the delivery of the message from the stomach to the brain which informs the brain, "I'm hungry." Instead, it sends a message that no more food is needed, suppressing excess appetite. This fully eliminates the need for gastric bypass surgery, diet pills, and weight loss shakes.
We asked my friend, Dr. Dung Trinh, Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of California-Irvine (UCI) to give us a summary of the current obesity problem we are facing in today's world, and to go over the current treatments being offered in the market.
Author, Scott Matusow: Obesity seems to be a growing health and appearance issue these days. Can you please explain to us the current scope and magnitude of this problem for us?
Dr. Trinh: Obesity is a huge problem in the United States. Two thirds of Americans fit the definition of overweight or obese. Obesity is associated with a multitude of healthcare problems we see in the office on a daily basis; diabetes (1 in 3 adults in the US have prediabetes), heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Some blame obesity on genetics, the food industry, proximity of McDonald's to elementary schools, large sizes of soda drinks in New York City, and the lack of adequate exercise.
If our out-of-control healthcare spending and rising insurance premiums are ever going to be manageable, we need to focus on prevention of disease (obesity) rather than putting out burning fires related to obesity (diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, etc). Our strategy needs to be focused on maintaining wellness rather than fighting Illness.
Our approach to fight obesity comes from multiple fronts. From a regulatory stand point, last year the FDA approved two weight loss medications. Politically, New York City banned soft drinks over a certain size (I'm not sure how that would circumvent someone from drinking multiple smaller sodas). Surgeons are shrinking stomach sizes with invasive gastric bypass, gastric banding, and other surgical techniques.
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