Web reacts to weight loss gadget that sucks food through stomach

An at-home stomach pump billed as an alternative to gastric bypass surgery is generating a lot of online attention for its drastic and stomach-churning weight loss method, essentially vacuuming indigested food out through a hole in the patient’s belly.

Called the AspireAssist Aspiration Therapy System, the stomach pump hinges on the principle of a feeding tube, similar to the insertion of a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy or PEG tubes used for patients who can’t obtain adequate nutrition orally, such as stroke patients with poor swallowing muscles.

Only instead of pumping the patient with nutrients, it works the other way. The company, Aspire Bariatrics based out of Philadelphia, recently filed to patent the device.

During a 20-minute, outpatient procedure, a tube is threaded through the patient’s throat, implanted into the stomach, and then passed through the surface of the stomach skin in a 1 cm incision.

After the skin has healed around the tube, a valve the size of a poker chip is attached to the end of the tube outside the body; the valve opens and closes for sucking foods out of the stomach. The makers of the system claim that performing the aspiration therapy 20 minutes after a meal will remove 30 percent of the calories consumed.

But what the company calls a “non-invasive,” “breakthrough weight loss solution,” website Jezebel calls a “Terrifying New Bulimia Machine,” a form of automated bulimia and highly disordered eating that promotes an unnatural relationship with food.

In reference to the device’s Skin-Port, the stomach valve that can be opened or closed to control the flow of stomach contents, for instance, Jezebel writer Laura Beck writes, “I’m sorry, is this a viable weight loss option or a scene from ‘Prometheus?’”

Nor would it be a particularly attractive feature during sex, she adds.

The Daily Meal also calls the device "cyborg-ish" while the New York Daily News calls it quite possibly the "Grossest weight loss method ever."

While not approved for use in the US, the device received the CE (Conformité Européenne) approval in December of 2011 to market in the European Union and is now commercially available in parts of Europe.

The system was created by Dean Kamen, who also invented the Segway, the self-balancing, two-wheeled personal transport.

Watch the video to see how the system works at http://bit.ly/VSi6zk.

  • Popular hot yoga myths debunked 5 hours ago
    Popular hot yoga myths debunked

    What’s the hottest new workout taking the world by storm? That would be hot yoga, also known as Bikram yoga. Conducted in a heated room with sweltering temperatures of about 40°C (or approximately 104° Fahrenheit) and 40 per cent humidity, … Continue reading →

  • Thursday #sgroundup: Body found of boy who made first call from Korea ferry: report 6 hours ago
    Thursday #sgroundup: Body found of boy who made first call from Korea ferry: report

    Here are today’s top trending stories in case you missed them.

  • Look, don't touch: Flickr photo of the day 17 hours ago
    Look, don't touch: Flickr photo of the day

    If there's one car that's particularly sought-after among today's well-heeled car collectors, a Ferrari 250 would be it. Usually it's the GTO variant, like the 1963 that sold for a record $52 million last year. A 250 of any sorts demands unfathomable cash, however, which is why we can but gawk at this 250 Testa Rossa. It's as close as any mere mortal will ever come to owning one.

  • Photo of a very thin Lee Kuan Yew sparks concern
    Photo of a very thin Lee Kuan Yew sparks concern

    A new picture of Singapore's first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, who is now 90 years old, has drawn concern from people on Singapore's internet space.

  • Waste oil collector struggles after STOMP posts, receives help from kind souls
    Waste oil collector struggles after STOMP posts, receives help from kind souls

    After being photographed at work in Jurong pooling used oil near coffee shops, 50-year-old Valerie Sim has been struggling to keep her family afloat. Web portals STOMP and The Real Singapore published pictures of her in February, triggering a witch hunt for others like her and comments from readers like “Who knows if they’ll use it as cooking oil?” Some readers also said they filed police reports against her and other people they believed were doing the same thing she was.

  • Indonesian general says his flashy watch is a fake
    Indonesian general says his flashy watch is a fake

    JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia's military commander said critics who called him out for wearing an especially luxurious watch should be quiet because the timepiece is actually a cheap Chinese fake.