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Episode 1: Talking About Aspire Assist

Kimberly Bliss
Kimberly Bliss Culture Desk Editor

In Episode 1, founder Su Robotti and editor Jonathan Block discuss the Aspire Assist medical device.— “mechanized bulimia” or a useful obesity fighter?

Su: Hi I am Su Robotti and I am the founder of MedShadow Foundation. This is Jonathan Block who is the content editor for MedShadow Foundation.

We inform the public about the side effects and long-term effects of the medicine that we all take, both over-the-counter medicines and prescription medicine. Today we are going to talk about…

Jonathan: A recently approved by the FDA a stomach pump that actually sucks food out of your stomach it is known as the Aspire Assist.

Su: So wait. It’s a stomach pump that you use in a non-emergency bases.

Jonathan: Correct. From what I understand from reading about it a doctor would surgically implant a tube inside your stomach, them about 20 to 30 minutes after you will have a meal you will attach a pump to this tube that comes out of your stomach and it will basically empty about 30% of your calories, and when I say empty, it would empty those contents directly into your toilet bowl.

Su: So just splashes out into the toilet bowl?

The side effects that we know about on this process are indigestion, nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea and, even more pleasantly, leakage or infection even bleeding around the port site where the tube will go into.

This doesn’t sound like a great idea to me; in fact this sounds medically sanctioned bulimia to me.

Jonathan: Also, it’s interesting that you said that because I was reading an article about this and there was — I believe — a doctor who essentially called the Aspire Assist a “bulimia machine.” Part of the reason is because what the pump does is kinds of mimics the action when, if you’re bulimic, that you purge. And it’s for this reason that the device should not be used on people who have eating disorders.

Su: How big a weight issue do you need?

Jonathan: I am not exactly sure about that but this is the thing is that you can’t just use the pump, use it after every meal and that’s part of your weight loss. There is a whole bunch of lifestyle modifications that you have to make in order to make this successful. So people are out there thinking I can eat whatever I want because I am going to have this pump that is going to suck out, all not all of it but about 30% of the calories, they are kidding themselves because even the FDA said that in order to use this you have to have lifestyle modifications in order to maximize it.

Su: Well I think that this sounds like a really horrifying idea. And I wondered — just one last thought before we go — how do you know if you are getting enough nutrition? How do you know when to stop the siphoning off of the food? And what about those nutrients that are absorbed in the intestines?

Jonathan: That’s a great point actually, and while using this you have to make regular trips to the doctor to make sure that you are not losing too many calories and to make sure there is no complications with the tube and the pump itself. So there were already — it’s not as if you got this and you don’t see your doctor regularly. As far as the nutrition that’s something that I am not sure about, but I am sure that is a concern if you are using this pump 20 to 30y minutes after you’ve eaten and it’s taking out approximately 30% of calories you are definitely going to be losing a lot of essential nutrients in the process.

Su: Well as with every supplement with every medicine with every medical device we in MedShadow encourage you to talk to your doctor very carefully and make sure that the benefits out way the risk when you move forward with that program. Thank you.

Jonathan: Thank you.

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