New Device Helps People Struggling To Fight Obesity, Diabetes

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There’s new technology that could help fight obesity and diabetes.

It’s kind of like bypass surgery without the operation. It’s a device that’s being tested by British researchers and the early results look good.

Harnaik Pharhani, who lives in England, has struggled with his weight and diabetes for years.

“I was very obese, overweight, my blood pressure was very high, my cholesterol was high,” he said.

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The father of two is down nearly 50 pounds and 10 inches around his waist after getting an experimental device called the endobarrier.

“When I sort of look at my old photos now, I’m a bit surprised, and I say, ‘Was I really that big?’” Pharhani said.

The endobarrier is similar to gastric bypass but without invasive surgery.

The plastic sleeve is inserted through the throat and into the small intestine, allowing food to pass through without being absorbed.

“They tell us they feel fuller with the device in, which is a bit odd, as it doesn’t sit in the stomach, really just in the first part of the intestine,” said Dr. Piya Sen Gupta.

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The device is removed after a year. The goal is to kick-start weight loss and get diabetes under control.

“So if they’re on insulin projections, sometimes people no longer need them, or they’ve had a dramatic reduction in dose,” said Gupta.

Testing in the United States stopped after some patients developed liver complications. Now, the Boston company that makes the device is working with the FDA on new studies.

Pharhani said the device has changed his life.

“I feel a lot more confident and outgoing as well,” he said.

Pharhani’s diabetes is in check and he’s now trying to lose 40 more pounds.

He was among 65 patients struggling with type 2 diabetes and obesity who tested the device in the United Kingdom.

The average weight loss is about 33 pounds.

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