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Science Idle Technology

Dean Kamen Invents Stomach Pump For Dieters 483

Posted by samzenpus
from the I've-been-sweating-like-a-sucker dept.
You may soon have another option to lose weight other than dieting and exercise thanks to Dean Kamen. The inventor has designed a pump that can suck the cheeseburgers out of your stomach and replace it with water. From the article: "The pump was invented by Dean Kamen, the same man who brought you the Segway, and perhaps more fittingly, a breakthrough dialysis machine. This pump works by routing a tube directly into the user's stomach and then sucking out some of the gooey, masticated goodness. The user then squeezes a little plastic bag to replace that volume of stomach-stew with water. Sounds great, right? There are some catches though. It hasn't been approved by the FDA yet, and some of the users in the tests had problems with certain foods like 'cauliflower, broccoli, Chinese food, stir fry, snow peas, pretzels, chips, and steak.' Oh, also there's a tube going into your stomach that you use to pump unpuked vomit into the toilet. Participants in trial studies did manage to lose about half of their excess weight this way, around 45 pounds on average, so apparently it works."
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Dean Kamen Invents Stomach Pump For Dieters

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 13, 2013 @11:14PM (#42578999)

    Or at least a marketable, respectable form of bulimia.

    • by 19thNervousBreakdown (768619) <davec-slashdot.lepertheory@net> on Sunday January 13, 2013 @11:17PM (#42579035) Homepage

      Yes, it is. At least, it's bulimia. I don't see anything respectable at all about surgically altering yourself so you can gorge and still lose weight, and I guess time will tell if it's marketable (although I doubt it'll be even as successful as lap band surgery), but yeah, it's definitely mechanical barfing.

      • by jamesh (87723) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @11:33PM (#42579141)

        Yes, it is. At least, it's bulimia. I don't see anything respectable at all about surgically altering yourself so you can gorge and still lose weight, and I guess time will tell if it's marketable (although I doubt it'll be even as successful as lap band surgery), but yeah, it's definitely mechanical barfing.

        Depends on the size of the target market. How many people are there in the US who love eating but don't want to be fat? Probably not many I guess.

        • by AuMatar (183847) on Monday January 14, 2013 @12:00AM (#42579303)

          Wrong question. How many people love eating, don't want to be fat, and think that this could possibly be a good or healthy idea? And want to deal with the disposal and cleanup of the pumped material? I love eating and it would be great to lose 100 pounds, but I know that this isn't safe and is actually counter-productive.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 14, 2013 @12:45AM (#42579505)

            I don't know about you, but I deal with disposal of some pretty nasty material from my body at least once a day already...

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <[ten.3dlrow] [ta] [ojom]> on Monday January 14, 2013 @03:44AM (#42580101) Homepage

        Weight loss surgery is not about wanting to lose weight with no effort or eat as much as you like. That is a common misconception that is hard to explain to people who don't struggle to control their weight.

        Willpower is not enough for a lot of people. Personally I suffer from both arthritis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I am just about managing to keep my current weight, but could stand to loose 20kg or more. It isn't a case of being lazy, or weak, or stuffing my face with McShit all day. I'm way off the point where I would qualify for surgery but I can completely understand why it is necessary for some people.

      • by AwesomeMcgee (2437070) on Monday January 14, 2013 @10:51AM (#42582065)
        Just a note, my sister in law eats less than me and is far more active, but was extremely overweight (she was obese since childhood) so doctors finally decided she needed a gastric bypass.

        I presume that's what you're talking about when you refer to the surgically altering yourself so you can gorge. I have since learned some interesting things, for instance: she can't more than 3oz of anything at a time for the rest of her life. This includes water so she gets 3oz of sustenance every 3 or 4 hours (I don't remember the time period) to the point that she has been suffering migraines from dehydration because the small amount she's intaking is simply not allowing for enough water and food, if she has more water rather than food she finds herself feeling very weak from malnourishment (the doctors tell her both the dehydration and weakness are completely common as her body adjusts).

        Just sharing this because from what I've learned, it turns out this surgery doesn't allow one to just gorge themselves and is anything but an easy weight loss solution, effective but definitely not easy. Plus she had to diet even more and exercise for 6 or 9 months leading up to the surgery before they would even do it, where the result is a permanent diet for the rest of her life. It'll be worth it for her and her family to have her healthier but as I said, this is no miracle cure with no consequences.
    • by retroworks (652802) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @11:22PM (#42579073) Homepage Journal
      There should be some way to preserve and reuse the pumpings, perhaps compost or soylent green or something.
      • renewable bulimia (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Yes, and energy should somehow be extracted from it and fed back into the grid

      • No use for compost. Too acidic. Acid and protease though... once you strain out the chunky bits, it'd make a great drain unclogger.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @11:27PM (#42579101) Journal

      The tube should ameliorate some of the dangerous effects of repeated exposure to gastric acids by the sensitive tissues and teeth of the mouth and throat, so there is that...

      • The tube should ameliorate some of the dangerous effects of repeated exposure to gastric acids by the sensitive tissues and teeth of the mouth and throat, so there is that...

        I figured that was a good reason until I got to this part:

        The user then squeezes a little plastic bag to replace that volume of stomach-stew with water.

        ...wait, what's wrong with the original tube they've been cramming cheeseburgers down before hand? Going number four is OK for these people as they try to lose weight, but drinking water is still too hard a road towards health?

      • by cffrost (885375) on Monday January 14, 2013 @12:29AM (#42579433) Homepage

        The tube should ameliorate some of the dangerous effects of repeated exposure to gastric acids by the sensitive tissues and teeth of the mouth and throat, so there is that...

        Sure, but the same benefits can be achieved via do-it-yourself nasogastric intubation, using a length of latex tubing and a hand-pump from the hardware store. No surgery, no inter-abdominal infection vector, no awkward situations in the bedroom or airport, and a total investment equivalent to a plateful of cheeseburgers.

    • by Nemyst (1383049) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @11:34PM (#42579143) Homepage

      The difference is that bulimia is a mental disorder first and foremost. People go in cycles of bulimia and anorexia, they often aren't actually fat, and they'll usually have binges of eating before vomiting. On top of that, they'll rarely actually say anything to anyone.

      I can't see this not being supervised by a doctor, considering the tubes going in your body and all that. It's not the kind of thing you can do in your kitchen. It'll come with restrictions attached and a strict diet, if anything, so that people can get the tubes removed as soon as possible.

      • by pev (2186) on Monday January 14, 2013 @05:14AM (#42580349) Homepage

        People go in cycles of bulimia and anorexia

        Not true. I've had bulimia for many years and not told anyone about it. I'm overweight by about 15Kg and tubby but not your typical fatty. I've certainly never had anorexia or even been close.

        Yes I know it's ironic, "Hi internet." The geek psyche is weird isn't it? It seems less concerning to me to disclose publicly what I guess is a fucked medical problem in a public forum than it is to let someone make an incorrect comment on slashdot. I think XKCD nailed it with : http://xkcd.com/386/

    • Depends what you mean by "bulimia", I guess. Like anorexia, I thought the disease was characterised by its psychological components (ie: binging, guilt, desire for an unattainable ideal, etc) more than the physical means used in response to those drives. For instance, binging followed by taking laxatives, or binging followed by an extreme diet are considered examples of bulimia - but not all people who go an an extreme diet or take laxatives are bulimic.

    • by mug funky (910186)

      you don't get acid-etched teeth and terrible breath either.

      but a tube in the stomach seems like an unnecessary infection vector, and the whole contraption is just a dangerous, painful and expensive replacement for just eating less and drinking more water.

    • by Macgrrl (762836)

      That was my thoughts exactly - it's bulimia without the tooth enamel damage.

      As someone who has struggled with involuntary vomiting most of my life (apparently I have mild gastroparesis - where the stomach doesn't empty itself into the intestines properly), I can tell you that in and of itself, vomiting is not a good way to lose weight, but is a great way to screw with your metabolism.

    • by Grayhand (2610049)

      Or at least a marketable, respectable form of bulimia.

      Only if you stick a vacuum cleaner hose down your throat to suck the Hagen Daz out.

  • I'd rather do it the Roman way - stuff myself silly and drink until dawn, than just vomit it all up...

  • Name: (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 13, 2013 @11:15PM (#42579019)

    BULI - O-MATIC

  • by Greyfox (87712) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @11:16PM (#42579021) Homepage Journal
    Just not eat all those cheeseburgers in the first place? Hah! Crazy talk, I know!
    • by bzipitidoo (647217) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Monday January 14, 2013 @12:48AM (#42579517) Journal

      A pithy answer like "Eat less and exercise" obviously doesn't cut it. That's like the joke about how to put a giraffe in a refrigerator. You open the refrigerator, put the giraffe in, and close the door.

      Some findings and facts that have received some publicity lately:

      1. Gut microbes adapt to the food you eat, so that simple calorie counting is not accurate. Fat people can gain weight on less food, because their gut microbes are more efficient.
      2. Sleep deprivation is another cause of weight gain.
      3. Chemicals such as Bisphenol A mimic hormones. Many other plastics are also problematic. They get into our bodies because we use them for food containers and linings. Once in the body, they screw with our metabolism. One common effect is weight gain.
      4. The food industry's first priority is not our health, it's their bottom line. Most of us are also suckers for this, often measuring the value of food solely by price. It would be expecting too much to hope that the cheapest food is reasonably healthy, and of course it isn't. Breakthroughs that extend the shelf life of fresh food cheaply would be huge.

      There are a bunch of other lifestyle factors that can cause weight problems: too much sitting, pollution, artificial lighting, stress, and disease. The obesity epidemic is not going to be solved with a "Just Say No" campaign to cheeseburgers.

      • by lxs (131946) on Monday January 14, 2013 @04:47AM (#42580283)

        I'm reading a lot of excuses in your post. It's gut bacteria it's pollution, it's Big Corn, it's stress. I'm not reading anything about taking personal responsibility. Losing weight means running a calorie deficit. This will make you feel bad. The only way to get though that is to get off the notion that you should feel good all the time and volutarily put yourself in a situation where you're hungry and feeling bad. that feeling will pass in a couple of weeks and it will strengthen your willpower.

        • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Monday January 14, 2013 @10:00AM (#42581627) Homepage

          It seems to me a general truth that people who focus so much on "personal responsibility" and "willpower" are people who are much less interested in solving problems, and much more interested in making themselves feel superior by way of their own good fortune. The line your advocating is equivalent to "Just say no to drugs" or abstinence-only sex education. You're burying your head in the sand.

          It's not like people who are thin and in good shape aren't generally walking around hungry, feeling bad. People who are thin and healthy aren't starving themselves, or at least they shouldn't be. If you're walking around hungry and feeling bad, you're doing it wrong.

          And aside from the list of factors that bzipitidoo gave, your talk about willpower ignored a pretty important factor: the phenomenon of "willpower" is a biological activity that has its limits. There have been a few studies that suggest that your decision-making process and ability to exercise self-control is dependent on blood sugar levels, which creates a nice little catch-22 for dieters. You don't eat, your blood sugar drops, your self-control weakens. I good way to reinforce your self-control is to have a snack to boost your blood sugar levels, but then you'd be breaking your diet.

          Anyway, it's not about making excuses. It's about understanding the nature of the problem. I'm skinny, but it's not a function of discipline, self-control, or moral superiority. I eat whatever I want, as much as I want, and somehow I'm still skinny. Lucky me. I don't go around trying to pretend I'm some kind of hero, and I don't belittle people who are less lucky, who want to understand why.

          • It seems to me a general truth that people who focus so much on "personal responsibility" and "willpower" are people who are much less interested in solving problems, and much more interested in making themselves feel superior by way of their own good fortune. The line your advocating is equivalent to "Just say no to drugs" or abstinence-only sex education.

            Then this will probably be a real mindfuck then:

            I'm a rather hardcore liberal, and I believe that the focus should in fact be on "personal responsibility" and "willpower".

            Further, we should work on teaching not only how to apply those concepts, but the best ways to do so as part of public health education and (in schools) home ec. and PE (you know, those things that we've slowly worked on purging in favor of bland, guaranteed-not-to-anger-parents "replacements".)

            Yes, you can't teach "willpower", but you can

  • so do tapeworms, and not eating so much crap food!!

  • by terec (2797475) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @11:18PM (#42579039)

    This is going to revolutionize nutrition and eating, just like the Ginger/Segway has revolutionized transportation in our cities.

    • This is going to revolutionize nutrition and eating, just like the Ginger/Segway has revolutionized transportation in our cities.

      If the Segway was not so damn expensive, more people might use them.

      • by Slartibartfast (3395) <[gro.stoj] [ta] [nek]> on Monday January 14, 2013 @07:58AM (#42580795) Homepage Journal

        Except, well... while I do own a Segway -- employees get what comes to a 50% discount, and in November of '08, it really, really looked like they were about to go belly-up; figured I'd get one while I still could -- I admit that the bike argument is a decent one. I really do enjoy riding Segways (or "PT's" -- personal transporters -- since Segway(tm) refers to the company, and not their product), but there are many drawbacks. Personally, I think they are freaking ideal for sightseeing. The best thing ever. As someone who'd ridden them for years, it wasn't until I'd gone on a sightseeing trip that I realized how awesome they can be, when used for their intended niche. Outside of that niche? Maybe not so much...

        Oh. And Dean likely didn't "invent" the pump, no more than he "invented" the Segway. (The insulin pump is all his, though.) What Dean truly excels at is putting a bunch of relatively inexpensive engineers in a big mill building, and then promoting himself on what they produce.

  • Broccoli? Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GenieGenieGenie (942725) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @11:21PM (#42579061)
    Why on earth would you want to suck out the broccoli? This gadget needs a fiberscopic camera that will allow you to view the semi-digested morsels and suck out the ones you don't want to keep.
    • Yeah I don't think we're getting fat on Broccoli. Maybe if it can suck the ranch dressing or cheese off the broccoli we can call it a deal.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 13, 2013 @11:27PM (#42579097)

    ... It's made of what eventually would have been people!

  • to get this installed?

  • My Reaction (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jIyajbe (662197) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @11:37PM (#42579173)

    Eeewww.

    Seriously, EEEWWW.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 13, 2013 @11:46PM (#42579213)

    Several studies have show obese people prefer easily accessible food.

    Stock up on hard-to-prepare food: eggs, flour, potatoes, etc.

    These foods also happen to be inexpensive. And cuts down on all types of "impulse eating" as you ask yourself "Do I really want to spend 15 minutes on a snack or can I wait?" Of course, this practical advice doesn't make a guy on TV any money and doesn't make a mega-corp any money and doesn't sell books on a talk show ...

    • by retchdog (1319261)

      i'm almost convinced that eating whole grains works for weight loss simply because it doesn't taste as good as white flour.

      the fiber has other benefits, of course.

    • Of course, this practical advice doesn't make a guy on TV any money and doesn't make a mega-corp any money and doesn't sell books on a talk show

      Sure it does. Jamie Oliver for one has about three different shows running on the free view channels here, and a squizillion books.

  • Why not just get rid of the middle man and just do this? No eating, puking, or weight gain! http://www.nextnature.net/2006/04/cloaca/ [nextnature.net]
  • "Recent estimates suggest that 16 per cent of the energy consumed in the US is used to produce food. Yet at least 25 per cent of food is wasted each year..." [newscientist.com]

    "There are nearly a billion malnourished people in the world, but all of them could be lifted out of hunger with less than a quarter of the food wasted in Europe and North America. In a globalised food system, where we are all buying food in the same international market place, that means we're taking food out of the mouths of the poor." [guardian.co.uk]

    In this context,

    • by LordLucless (582312) on Monday January 14, 2013 @12:16AM (#42579361)

      "There are nearly a billion malnourished people in the world, but all of them could be lifted out of hunger with less than a quarter of the food wasted in Europe and North America"

      No, they couldn't, not unless that food could be transported to them and distributed before it became inedible. In countries with good infrastructure, that's not a problem, but those billion malnourished generally don't live in a place with good air freight service, well-maintained highways, and refrigerated trucking.

      Any solution to global poverty is going to have to largely rely on bootstrapping local production. Despite importing a lot of food, most western nations export a whole lot more - they have sufficient capacity to feed themselves, and trade for variety/seasonality. Getting developing nations to the point of self sufficiency is key - anything else leaves them dependant on the developed world, which will screw them over when a drought/famine/whatever hits, and we have less excess to give.

      • Truth.

        It's not a production problem, it hasn't been a production problem since the Middle Ages (if even then), it's always been a distribution problem. Not just with the infrastructure, but also with the fact that the people in those areas don't have the money to make shipping to them economically worthwhile. make no mistake, if they had the money to pay for the food the infrastructure issues would be worked around quickly.
      • by Burz (138833) on Monday January 14, 2013 @03:14AM (#42580005) Journal

        but those billion malnourished generally don't live in a place with good air freight service, well-maintained highways, and refrigerated trucking.

        Agreed, but many of those places have transportation (where it exists) that is configured to remove produce and resources onto boats headed for regions like Europe, North America and increasingly China. As you pointed out, that can also work in reverse WRT food... but I don't believe that is the case for all materials in general.

        As I see it, any country that is not heavily bought-up by globalist Wall St. banks and aligned with NATO would inevitably appear as a threat to the West if they reconfigured their infrastructure to be self-sufficient and more self-serving. Self-sufficiency for an emerging region would necessarily have to stonewall the influences of the global banking system, because the system has a record of opportunistically creating crises which put the land and resources of so many developing countries on sale to Western corporations at fire sale prices. When the financial empire convulses because of mismanagement at its center, its the fringes that are most quickly abandoned because of a lack of familiarity or personal involvement by wealthy investors-- then they are lined up for 'austerity' programs which have much more to do with rent seeking by foreign actors than with self-sufficiency.

  • Everything will be just fine, I'm sure. There's nothing that can go wrong with this. Nope. Not a thing. No sir-ee Bob.
  • So has this guy effectively created a medical device?? And is he testing it out on human subjects illegally??
    :>(
    And I agree with those who wrote earlier that this is a "mechanical barf-o-matic" without sticking your finger down your throat. So what is he claiming for the benefits??
    .
    bene 1: no acid reflux uppa your egophagus?
    bene 2: no acid stains on your teeth and palate?
    bene 3: barf yourself without the unpleasant taste coming through your mouth?
    bene 4: no need to stick a finger down your throat
    .
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Dieting and exercise? For suckers. Bring on the pump.

  • by Sussurros (2457406)
    Some of Dean Kamen's inventions, and they are far too many to list, are serious and lifesaving or serious and useful. Some are astonishing like the whhelchair that lifts the person in it to standing height when they need to. Other inventions of his are kind of fun but rather silly. My personal favourite is an analog clock with oval gears that slows down during work hours and speeds up during lunch break.
  • ...dancing in a dioxin dump...

  • by davesag (140186) on Monday January 14, 2013 @04:27AM (#42580215) Homepage

    This looks to me to be the single most disgusting invention I've ever seen. Surely it's easier to just eat smaller meals rather than gorge, then pump partially digested food out through a pipe through your gut. I guess it tops the Segway as stupidest invention ever.

  • But... (Score:4, Funny)

    by TeknoHog (164938) on Monday January 14, 2013 @07:49AM (#42580753) Homepage Journal
    My first name is Dieter, you insensitive clod!

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