Dietitians Ditch Research on ‘World First’ Weight Loss Device Instead of Ethics


Three dieticians quit their search for a “world-first” weight loss device that uses magnets to limit jaw movement, two citing ethical concerns.

Earlier this year, the University of Otago unveiled the Dental Slim Diet Control, which uses magnets mounted on the top and bottom rear teeth to prevent people from opening their mouths wider than 2mm.

But the device, which the researchers say helped participants establish new eating habits, has drawn contempt on social media and negative headlines around the world.

Emails posted to Things under the Official Information Act reveal that some of these criticisms came from people closely associated with the study.

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Seven people participated in the trial, one of whom dropped out for some unrelated reason. The other six participants were each assigned a dietitian.

Researchers at the University of Otago and the UK have developed the world's first weight loss device to help fight the global obesity epidemic.

University of Otago / Fourni

Researchers at the University of Otago and the UK have developed the world’s first weight loss device to help fight the global obesity epidemic.

Three of those dieticians left the study, two citing concerns about the research.

“I am very sorry, but I cannot continue to work with you on the study,” said a dietician, whose name has been redacted, in an email.

“The reason I am withdrawing is that I feel very uncomfortable participating in the study. “

The dietician wrote that she did not believe the research “met my ethical obligations as a healthcare professional.”

Professor Paul Brunton was the principal investigator of the project.

University of Otago / Fourni

Professor Paul Brunton was the principal investigator of the project.

“ I understand why this project interests you, however, from my perspective, this device negatively affects the mental health of the participant, with very little benefit to that physical health. ”

Upon release, the researchers noted that the device effectively restricts the participant to a liquid diet, without restricting breathing or freedom of expression.

Principal investigator Professor Paul Brunton, University of Otago pro-vice chancellor of health sciences, when told that a dietitian had resigned from the research, was also asked to comment on whether a replacement was necessary because another participant had to have the device installed.

“Yes, it’s in the protocol and therefore essential, I think,” he replied.

Upon release, the researchers noted that the device effectively restricts the participant to a liquid diet, without restricting breathing or freedom of expression.

University of Otago / Fourni

Upon release, the researchers noted that the device effectively restricts the participant to a liquid diet, without restricting breathing or freedom of expression.

Another email from an anonymous person in the Faculty of Dentistry said that a postgraduate student could potentially be used.

In a letter to Things Of the published emails, the University of Otago noted that two other dieticians had also left the study. One was no longer needed, as their charges were considered too expensive.

The third dietitian, who left due to commitments in the study, “requested that we record that they also have concerns about the study protocol.”

Emails posted to Stuff under the Official Information Act show concerns about weight loss research at the University of Otago.

University of Otago / Fourni

Emails posted to Stuff under the Official Information Act show concerns about weight loss research at the University of Otago.

Brunton was approached to comment on the dietitian’s concerns.

Upon publication of the research, the university released a statement by Brunton claiming that the device was an effective, safe and affordable tool for people battling obesity.

Participants in the Dunedin-based trial lost an average of 6.36 kg in two weeks, according to an article published in the BBritish dental journal noted.

The aircraft’s safety features allowed it to be disengaged in an emergency, such as a panic attack or the possibility of suffocation.

The journal noted that most patients experienced occasional discomfort from the device, and it was quite severe after 24 hours, with friction of the device against the cheeks being the main reason.

Unsurprisingly, participants struggled to speak for as long as they used to, as the liquid diet was described as monotonous.

Brunton said the device, which was fitted by a dentist, helped participants establish new eating habits and was an attractive alternative to surgical procedures.

“The point is, there are no adverse consequences with this device.”


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