Scientists have developed a novel and less invasive medical device that may help treat conditions such as Type 2 diabetes and obesity in the future.
The device called Sleeveballoon mimics the effects of traditional bariatric surgery in rodents and produces impressive results on body weight, fatty liver and diabetes control, according to the study published in the journal EBioMedicine.
Sleeveballoon is a device that combines a balloon with a connected sleeve, which covers the initial parts of the small intestine.
It is inserted into the stomach and bowel during minimally invasive surgery under general anaesthetic.
Researchers from King's College London in the UK compared the effects of the Sleeveballoon and traditional bariatric surgery on 30 rodents fed with a high-fat diet, achieving very similar results.
Results were also compared to sham-operated rats, with the new device reducing food intake by 60 per cent and resulting in a 57 per cent reduction in fat mass, the researchers said.
The effect on diabetes was similarly impressive with blood glucose levels dropping by 65 per cent, they said.
Gastric bypass surgery is a highly effective treatment of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
"However, very few eligible patients, only around one per cent, are offered surgery and some also prefer less invasive approaches," said Professor Geltrude Mingrone from King's College London.
"We found that the metabolic effects of the Sleeveballoon device are similar to those of the gastric bypass but have distinct advantages over the traditional method. In both, insulin sensitivity and heart functions improved," said Mingrone.
"However, while gastric bypass causes a rapid rise in post food blood glucose levels which can cause hypoglycaemia, the Sleeveballoon induces a slowing down of digestion which has a steadying effect on blood sugar levels. This helps control appetite and hunger, keeping the person fuller for longer and substantially reduces weight," she said.
Mingrone noted that about two billion adults, or 30 per cent of the world's population, live with overweight or obesity according to the World Health Organisation.
"At present, 500 million people suffer from type 2 diabetes and about two billion people have fatty liver disease. We hope that our discovery will be tested in humans soon and revolutionise the way we tackle this epidemic," she said.
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