The disgusting weight-loss tool that pumps food from your stomach

The inventor of the Segway has come up with a way for people to eat all they want and lose weight, if they can stand the thought of it

The AspireAssist empties 30 percent of the contents of a person's stomach into the toilet.
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People who are slightly overweight may or may not live a bit longer — a controversial debate incited by a recent study — but it's pretty universally understood that being obese is bad. The morbidly overweight, though, have few appealing options: Going on extreme diets and trying to exercise away some extra pounds, a bariatric (gastric bypass) operation or other surgical intervention, or just giving up and living with the health risks, social stigma, and general discomfort. So it's good news, perhaps, that Dean Kamen, inventor of the little used but nonetheless technologically impressive Segway personal transporter, and a group of bariatric physicians have come up with what appears to be a surprisingly effective way of sucking away excess weight. Why only perhaps? Because the AspireAssist personal stomach pump looks stomach-churningly foul.

Here's how it works: Basically, it's a feeding tube in reverse. Instead of pumping life-sustaining nutrients into the stomachs of people unable to eat, the AspireAssist Aspiration Therapy System pumps food out of people who have no problem eating. Patients have a tube inserted into their stomachs then threaded out through an incision in the abdomen and capped with a poker chip–sized "Skin Port" valve. (For more detail, if you so dare, watch the video below.) Twenty minutes after eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the patient attaches a handheld device to the Skin Port and empties 30 percent of the contents of his or her stomach into the toilet.

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Peter Weber, The Week US

Peter has worked as a news and culture writer and editor at The Week since the site's launch in 2008. He covers politics, world affairs, religion and cultural currents. His journalism career began as a copy editor at a financial newswire and has included editorial positions at The New York Times Magazine, Facts on File, and Oregon State University.