A Wireless Device To Treat Obesity?

An implantable device similar to a pacemaker has received approval in Europe for commercial marketing. Called the abiliti (R) system, this device, following minimally invasive surgery, sends a low level electrical impulse to the stomach whenever a person eats or drinks. This stimulation is supposed to make the person feel full causing them to eat less. There are no restrictions in the types of foods allowed and the side effects of nausea reported in gastric bypass or gastric banding are avoided.

The system is said to automatically record when the patient eats, drinks, and exercises and the information can be viewed via a wireless connection. This information can be of benefit to the physician and patient to view patterns of behavior and develop treatment strategies to achieve better outcomes for weight loss.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated 1.6 billion people are overweight and 400 million are obese. Diabetes, hypertension, stroke, and heart disease are a few of the health problems associated with obesity. Weight loss surgery has proven effective for some suffering from obesity but impose some lifestyle restrictions and side effects. The abiliti system may be an alternative for some.
The original article was featured in “Medical News Today”, an online medical news source, posted on January 11, 2011.

Obesity Affects Breast Cancer Outcomes

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, which included over 53,000 women in Denmark, showed that the risk of distant metastasis from breast cancer was increased 46% in obese patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 and the risk of dying of breast cancer was increased by 38% after 30 years.
The current study adds to the existing evidence that obesity is associated with poor outcomes in breast cancer. Patients should be made aware of the adverse impact obesity has on decreasing the efficacy and poor outcomes of treatment and should be counseled about the potential importance of lifestyle changes to improve weight control.
Obesity may reduce the efficacy of endocrine therapy. They point out that both endocrine and metabolic changes that are associated with obesity are reversible by weight reduction.
Losing at least 10% of body weight has been shown to reduce serum concentrations of estradiol, leptin, and insulin, and losing weight also increases concentrations of sex hormone–binding globulin and adiponectin, they note. In addition, weight reduction in obese individuals leads to a reduction in levels of proinflammatory cytokines.
Therefore, weight reduction to a healthier BMI is a prevention strategy that may improve the prognosis of patients with breast and other cancers and increase the effectiveness of treatment.

Psychiatric Illness has no Negative Effect on Weight Loss after Bariatric Surgery

New research shows that overweight patients with psychiatric diagnoses lose similar amounts of weight after bariatric surgery compared to those without mental illness.
Patients suffering from depression, anxiety, or any psychiatric diagnosis did not statistically differ in weight loss compared to those patients without a psychiatric diagnosis, according to a study presented at the 31st Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions of the Society of Behavioral Medicine in April 2010.
The study included 61 men (61%) and women (39%) who underwent gastric bypass (41%) and laparoscopic band surgery (59%) between 2003 and 2008. Psychological examination revealed 54% suffered from depression, 28% anxiety, and 69% had at least 1 psychiatric diagnosis, which included psychosis and bipolar.
Before surgery, the patients had a mean body mass index (BMI) of 48.2. After surgery, there was a mean weight loss of 68.5 lbs. Participants were followed for 2 years.
“There is a feeling [among practitioners] that patients with psychiatric diagnoses will fare poorly [with bariatric surgery], but the study showed no statistically significant difference” from patients without a diagnoses, study investigator Angela Banitt, MA, a doctoral student at University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, told Meds cape Psychiatry.
“You don’t want to rule out patients with depression or anxiety because they may do just as well as someone who doesn’t have these conditions,” she added.

Artificially Sweetened Soft Drinks Linked to Pre-term Delivery

Participants were 59,334 women enrolled in the Danish National Birth Cohort from 1996 to 2002. The goal of the study was to evaluate the association between consumption of sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened soft drinks and preterm delivery.
Women avoid sugar- sweetened soft drinks because they have been linked to a number of adverse health outcomes such as high weight gain. Artificially-sweetened soft drinks are often promoted as an alternative, but the safety of artificial sweeteners has been disputed, and consequences of high intakes of artificial sweeteners especially for pregnant women have been minimally addressed.
The study compared daily consumption of sugar- sweetened soft drinks vs. artificially-sweetened soft drinks in pregnant women. They found that daily intake of artificially sweetened soft drinks was associated with an increased risk for preterm delivery regardless of the women’s weight, whether normal or obese.
They did not find this association of preterm delivery with those women who consumed sugar-sweetened carbonated or noncarbonated soft drinks.
They conclude that further studies are needed to reject or confirm these findings.
The study was reported in the September 2010 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Decrease Heartburn by Lying on the Left

Sleeping on your side can make can ease chronic heartburn. The difference to getting a good nights sleep is choosing the correct side.

A study in The Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology induced heartburn in subjects by feeding them high-fat meals. Immediately after the meal, they had them sleep on one side or the other for 4 hours and measured the acid in the esophagus.

They found that sleeping on the right side aggravates heartburn. They also found the acid clearance of the esophagus took longer if sleeping on the right side.

No one knows for sure why. But other studies have had similar results.

Obesity Increases Colon Cancer Mortality

—A study published in the September 2010 issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention suggests a link between obesity and an increased risk for colon cancer. Evidence shows that obesity with BMI of at least 30 had a 45% increased risk of dying from colon cancer after the disease is diagnosed in obese postmenopausal women.
They found the distribution of fat was more predictive of mortality than general obesity with BMI of 30. Women with abdominal obesity (larger waist to hip ratio) had a 30-40% greater risk of dying from colon cancer. Interestingly, those underweight women, with BMI less than 18.5, had an 89% increased mortality compared to those of normal weight. The data used was from the Iowa Women’s Health Study, which examined 1096 women who were diagnosed with colon cancer from 1986 to 2005.
Research has shown that excess weight and obesity can increase the risk of many types of cancer, not just colon. The association between higher BMI and increased mortality was especially noticed in cancers of the colon, breast (in women 60 years or older), ovary, cervix, and prostate, and for leukemia.