‘Blocking stomach’ could prevent obesity

New way to stop obesity by stopping stomach expansion

Medical experts think they may have found the key to stopping obesity, by preventing the stomach from expanding.

Scientists at the University College London have discovered two cell proteins that relax the gut, making way for a big meal.

It is thought that a drug to block the relaxation process would lower someone’s desire and capacity to overeat.

The human stomach has a normal volume of 75 millilitres, however when the muscular wall expands, the internal volume increases to two litres or more.

Now, doctors hope they can create a drug to slow or prevent the stomach’s relaxation and therefore lower obesity rates.

Lead researcher Dr Brian King said: ‘The mechanism of slow relaxation of the stomach might represent a future drug target in the fight to control weight gain and reverse obesity.’

Currently, gastric banding or stomach stapling are used to reduce the stomach’s volume. However, the procedures can be risky and carry side effects.

Dr Ian Campbell, medical director of the charity Weight Concern agreed another option to treatment obesity would be welcomed but commented: ‘Lifestyle change remains the best way of controlling weight.’

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