- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a new weight-loss device that sucks undigested food directly from the stomach.

American surgeons now have the option to treat obese patients with the AspireAssist, which is connected via a hole in the abdomen. A “skinport” allows users to remove 30 percent of the food in their stomach and then fill it back up with water.

“The AspireAssist device should not be used on patients with eating disorders, and it is not intended to be used for short durations in those who are moderately overweight,” the FDA said on its website Tuesday. “It is intended to assist in weight loss in patients aged 22 and older who are obese, with a body mass index of 35 to 55, and who have failed to achieve and maintain weight loss through non-surgical weight-loss therapy.”

Regulators reviewed results from 111 patients treated with the device before issuing approval. Patients lost an average of 12.1 percent of their total body weight over the course of one year. A control group of 60 patients lost 3.6 percent of their body fat.

Side effects related to use of the AspireAssist include occasional constipation diarrhea, indigestion, nausea, and vomiting, FDA officials said.

Critics of the device have said since its creation that it may be more of a curse than a blessing.

Keith Ayoob, an associate clinical professor of nutrition at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, told ABC News in January 2013 that AspireAssist seemed like a “bulimia machine.”

Readers at the technology website Gizmodo echoed that sentiment on Wednesday.

“It’s just purging without the tooth decay. I don’t see why they would ever approve this,” said one reader.

“It does nothing about the damaging, maladaptive behavior that is occurring. People: If you have so much damn extra food that you can waste it this way, how about donate part of your food to the food pantry?” added another.

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