Reverse feeding tube developed in St. Louis approved by federal agency

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ST. LOUIS (AP) _ A reverse feeding tube developed in St. Louis to aid in weight loss by removing calories before they are digested has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the AspireAssist siphons food out of the stomach through a port implanted in the abdomen. The device was developed by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis.

Researchers say the device can remove up to 30 percent of calories from a meal before it is digested.

Some who are critical of the device say bears similarities to the eating disorder bulimia, which involves bingeing and purging food, and could be a trigger for people with eating disorders.

But Dr. Shelby Sullivan, who led the initial study on the device, said the patients in the trial did not exhibit any abnormal eating behaviors.