Professor behind controversial dental plan device to leave Otago

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

University of Otago/Fourni

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

The professor behind a controversial weight-loss device has resigned from his post at the University of Otago, but his decision was unrelated to his work on the project.

Professor Paul Brunton, who has been pro-vice chancellor for health sciences since 2018, will step down from Dunedin in July.

Brunton was appointed Dean of Dentistry in 2014 and helped oversee the redevelopment of the dental school and the establishment of the Manukau Counties Dental Education Center and Patient Care Clinic in South Auckland .

He said it had been “a huge privilege” to hold this position for the past few years and that he had enjoyed the breadth and scope of his work at Otago.

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Professor Paul Brunton said his decision to leave Otago for Curtin was unrelated to his work with the DentalSlim project.

University of Otago/Fourni

Professor Paul Brunton said his decision to leave Otago for Curtin was unrelated to his work with the DentalSlim project.

He will become Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic, at Curtin University in Western Australia, where former Vice-Chancellor of Otago Harlene Hayne leads the Perth-based higher education institution.

Acting Vice-Chancellor of Otago, Professor Helen Nicholson, thanked Brunton for her leadership during her tenure.

”His calm, respectful, dignified and intelligent approach, especially during difficult times like Covid-19, was appreciated.

TVNZ

With New Zealand being one of the most obese countries in the world, researchers from the University of Otago say now is the perfect time to introduce their first medical weight loss device to the world.

Brunton was a key figure behind DentalSlim Diet Control, which was developed by the University of Otago and UK researchers and touted as a “world’s first weight loss device” against global obesity.

But the device, which used magnets to keep people from opening their jaws, was widely criticized online and led other academics to publish a response article in the British Dental Journal on Friday.

It was also revealed by Things that three dietitians involved in the project resigned due to their concerns.

Emails sent to Stuff under Official Information Act show concerns over weight loss research at University of Otago

University of Otago/Fourni

Emails sent to Stuff under Official Information Act show concerns over weight loss research at University of Otago

Brunton said her decision to leave Otago for Curtin was in no way related to her work with the DentalSlim project.

The trial received full ethical approval from the external Health and Disability Ethics Committee.

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