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Procedure Lowers 'Hunger Hormone' to Help Obese Lose Weight
Date:3/7/2013

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, March 7 (HealthDay News) -- The first five patients to try a new, minimally invasive weight-loss procedure dropped an average of more than 45 pounds in six months, researchers report.

The procedure -- called gastric artery chemical embolization (GACE) -- works by blocking an artery in the stomach. This cuts off part of the blood supply to an area of the stomach that produces most of the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates appetite.

"If a large, randomized study shows similar results, this may be a very simple method and an alternative to bariatric surgery," said lead researcher Dr. Nicholas Kipshidze, with New York Cardiovascular Research in New York City.

However, an expert noted that when one hormone is targeted, the body usually finds other ways to compensate. And another expert said the procedure must be studied in far more people for much longer periods to make sure there aren't major complications and that weight loss persists.

The findings were scheduled to be presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology, which begins this weekend in San Francisco. The data and conclusions of research presented at meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

In this first human test, researchers treated five obese people. Patients had a catheter placed in their groin. The catheter was threaded through an artery until it reached the upper part of the stomach, called the gastric fundus. Then, tiny beads were run through the catheter to block the artery.

Although blood flow to the stomach is reduced, the risk of part of the stomach dying from lack of blood is small, because these tissues get blood from other blood vessels, explained Kipshidze, who is also the general director at Republican Hospital in Tbilisi, Georgia.

After a month, patients lost about 29 pounds; by three months they
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