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Elipse Therapy: A Balloon Placed Inside the Stomach to Help Combat Obesity

Americans love ice cream. They love all kinds of desserts, especially frozen desserts, but ice cream really takes the (ice cream) cake. Unfortunately, the love of ice cream doesn’t exactly help when it comes to weight loss or living a healthy lifestyle.

While soft serve ice cream mix has much less fat content compared to hard ice cream (3% to 6% compared to 10% to 18%), it’s still not the best for you — especially if you are already struggling with high blood pressure or obesity.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 34.5% of men over the age of 20 are obese and 32.6% have high blood pressure (or are taking prescriptions for hypertension, at least). A World Health Organization report shows that globally, obesity has tripled since the late 1970s, and more than 1.9 billion adults are currently overweight.

Thankfully, there is an innovative, albeit strange, new approach to combating obesity, which will hopefully allow us to enjoy ice cream without worrying about obesity. It’s called Elipse Therapy and it’s a nonsurgical treatment for obesity. According to OZY, Elipse Therapy is actually a pill… that inflates a balloon… inside a person’s stomach.

The Elipse balloon has already been on the market in the Middle East and in Europe; it has been used to treat roughly 5,000 individuals struggling with obesity and could soon help people in the U.S. who are struggling with their weight. The principle behind the Elipse balloon is similar to pouplar bariatric surgeries in the U.S., most of which limit the volume of the stomach to reduce appetite and weight gain.

“We started to think, if you could occupy space in the stomach, then people would eat less,” said Dr. Shantanu Gaur, of Allurion Technologies, which has raised $27 million over the last year as it prepared for the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of Elipse Therapy.

The Elipse balloon did, in fact, receive FDA clearance for use in clinical trials. Now, Gaur and his colleagues are hoping this treatment will not only combat obesity, but surprise appetites, and even encourage portion control and healthier eating.

According to the Post-Gazette, the entire Elipse Therapy process generally takes only 15 minutes and after four months, the balloon’s release valve naturally degrades, allowing the device to deflate and pass through the patient’s digestive system without requiring removal by endoscopy or surgery.

During the first four months of treatment, patients, as long as they are carefully monitoring their appetites and aren’t overindulging in ice cream and similar products, can lose between 25 and 30 pounds.

“The Elipse balloon appears to be a safe and effective weight-loss method,” added Roberta Lenca, a researcher in experimental medicine at Sapienza University in Rome. “Because the Elipse balloon does not require endoscopy, surgery or anesthesia, this may make it suitable for a larger population of obese patients not responding to diet/lifestyle treatments and also for use by a variety of clinicians — nutritionists, dietitians and internists — who currently do not have access to or are qualified to fit endoscopic or surgical weight loss devices.”

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