New Endoscopic Procedure Burns Stomach Lining to Reduce Hunger Hormone and Promote Weight Loss

An experimental weight loss procedure blasts the stomach lining with heat to curb hunger and cut pounds.

New Endoscopic Procedure Burns Stomach Lining to Reduce Hunger Hormone and Promote Weight Loss
Burning a small patch of tissue lining the upper portion of the stomach could one day be a treatment for obesity, results from a small study suggest. PEPE GALLARDO/ISTOCK/GETTY IMAGES PLUS

A minimally invasive endoscopic procedure shows promise as a new weight-loss treatment by targeting the "hunger hormone" ghrelin. Researchers conducted a small, six-month human trial where they used endoscopic ablation, essentially burning a targeted area of the upper stomach lining, to reduce ghrelin production and aid weight loss.

Early Signs of Effectiveness:

  • The study involved 10 women with obesity.
  • Participants experienced a significant decrease in ghrelin levels, averaging a 42% reduction after six months.
  • On average, they lost 7.7% of their body weight, with one individual losing a substantial 26 pounds.
  • They also reported feeling less hungry after the procedure.

How it Works:

  • The upper portion of the stomach lining produces most of the ghrelin hormone.
  • Burning away these cells with endoscopic ablation aims to decrease ghrelin production, potentially leading to reduced appetite and weight loss.
  • Additionally, the procedure may cause some scar tissue formation, shrinking the stomach and promoting feelings of fullness sooner after eating.

Still in Early Stages:

  • This research is in its early stages, with only a small-scale trial conducted so far.
  • More extensive studies are needed to confirm the long-term safety and effectiveness of this approach.

Alternative Weight-Loss Methods Remain Crucial:

  • This procedure is not intended as a quick fix for weight loss.
  • It is likely to be considered alongside other weight-loss strategies like diet and exercise for individuals with obesity who haven't responded well to traditional methods.

Experts Weigh In:

  • Researchers acknowledge the need for further investigation but believe this minimally invasive technique could be a valuable tool in the fight against obesity.
  • However, some experts caution that long-term effects and potential side effects require thorough evaluation before widespread adoption.

The Future of Weight Loss:

This research highlights the ongoing exploration of innovative methods to address obesity. While more research is needed, this endoscopic procedure offers a promising glimpse into the future of weight-loss treatment.