The Checkup: KOP Company Seeks Patent for Scary Stomach-Pumping Weight-Loss Gadget (Video)

A local company is seeking a U.S. patent for a device that would allow people to pump the contents of their own stomach in order to lose weight.

• I was immediately horrified when I read a post on Jezebel yesterday about a new weight-loss gadget called the AspireAssist Aspiration Therapy System. It works like this: users stuff themselves silly with whatever food they want, then, 20 minutes later, they pump their own stomachs (!!!!) before the calories absorb, thereby losing weight. But that’s not what made me gasp at my computer. What elicited a shriek from this health editor was realizing that the AspireAssist is the pet project of a King of Prussia-based company called Aspire Bariatrics, which is currently seeking U.S. patent for the contraption. The device was actually invented by Segway creator Dean Kamen, and it requires first having a valve surgically implanted in your stomach. Then, whenever you want to suck out the food you’ve just eaten, you hook up a tube and pump away, a process that supposedly takes between 5 and 10 minutes. According to the Aspire Bariatrics website, the AspireAssist “allows patients to remove about 30% of the food from the stomach” and should be used three times a day at first, reducing frequency as weight loss occurs. Guys, I could not make this up if I wanted to; Jezebel goes so far as to call it a “bulimia machine,” and I have to admit, that doesn’t seem too far off. Read more at the company’s website. Or better yet, watch the video below to see for yourself how it works.

• If your doctor has never asks about your exercise habits (mine hadn’t until recently), he or she might soon enough as part of your annual physical. It’s a new push among insurance companies and health-care providers to get a better understanding of patients’ medical issues, and the idea is to include patients’ total weekly exercise minutes among the vital numbers included at the top of their charts. Because, yes, exercise is that important. Read more here.

• Quick! How much do you know about the dangers of obesity? A new survey found that lots of us aren’t getting the message about obesity’s links to things like cancer and sleep apnea, despite the volumes of research and reports on the subject. And that’s a pretty scary thing considering how many of us have weight problems. CBS News has more.