Friday, July 25, 2008

A Promising Obesity Drug from Tree Bark and Orange Peel Extracts

Because of some inherent advantages, we believe that drug therapy could be a much more important tool in the fight against too much body weight. Drug therapy can help those who are not able to lose weight using lifestyle changes. And drug therapy is less traumatic than weight loss surgery.

However, in order for obesity drug therapy to play a larger role, better drugs need to be produced. And in the past, obesity drugs have caused negative side effects for various users.

For example, the drug Fen-phen was expected to be a useful obesity drug. Fen-phen consisted of two drugs, fenfluramine and phentermine. However, because Fen-phen caused heart related problems in some users, in 1997 the FDA requested that fenfluramine be taken off the market. Fenfluramine was removed from the market by the drug manufacturer, American Home Products.

Meridia, another obesity drug which is manufactured by Abbott Laboratories, can cause side effects such as headaches, high blood pressure and constipation. And the consumer advocacy organization, Public Citizen, has asked the FDA to have Meridia taken off the market.

Accompli, a promising obesity drug from the company, Sanofi-Aventis, was denied FDA approval in 2007 because of reports of user depression and suicidal tendencies. And although the FDA approved the obesity drug Alli in 2007, the GlaxoSmithKline over-the-counter drug can reportedly cause side effects, including frequent stools and gas.

Therefore, obesity drugs have had their problems. However, because we think obesity drugs have a major role to play in the weight loss and weight management war, we are always interested in drugs that may improve weight loss or weight management. A dietary supplement which is a combination of an extract from an Asian tree bark (Phellodendron amurense bark) and an extract from orange peel (Citrus sinensis peel) shows promise.

The name given to the supplement is NP 06-1. A study was done to determine if the supplement could have cardiovascular benefits. Forty-five persons completed the study. A portion of the persons in the study group was given the supplement, and a portion was given a placebo. Both overweight and normal weight persons took part in the study.

Overall, both the normal and overweight participants who took the supplement lost weight and had decreased blood pressure. Both the normal and overweight participants experienced a decrease in triglycerides and the so-called “bad” cholesterol, LDL. And both the normal and overweight participants experienced an increase in the so-called “good” cholesterol, HDL. So the study results are promising.

We believe this supplement should be monitored by those in the weight loss industry. Indeed, we believe that weight loss centers should pay close attention to this supplement, and other drug therapies. A safe, effective, obesity drug therapy could lessen the sense of failure associated with some weight loss methods, and the trauma associated with others. And a safe, effective, obesity drug therapy could offer a weight loss center an important weapon in the weight loss and weight management fight.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Lifestyle Modification for Weight Loss and Weight Management

Lifestyle modification is an important part of weight loss and weight management. Changes in lifestyle can enable a person to overcome barriers that might otherwise inhibit weight loss or weight management. And according to a recent Swiss report, persons who changed their lifestyle, after being told that they had a high risk for type 2 diabetes, lost weight.

Thirty-eight hundred overweight persons were chosen for the study. And after one year, the high-risk-for-type-2-diabetes participants achieved an approximate nine pound weight loss. This weight loss was considered to be significant.

Lifestyle modifications that aid in weight loss and weight management generally include an increase in physical activity. Lifestyle modifications also include additional non-physical activities built around weight loss or weight management.

The kind of physical activity that one engages in for weight loss or weight management includes running, jogging, walking, cycling, and swimming. Non-physical activities include closely followed weight loss or weight management diets.

A non-physical activity associated with diet is diet self monitoring. Self-monitoring such as keeping a journal of food-intake can double a person’s weight loss compared to the weight loss experienced by someone not keeping a journal.

So lifestyle modification can be a significant part of any weight loss or weight management program, including a program involving bariatric surgery. Therefore, weight loss centers should continue to examine and use lifestyle modification techniques. This usage may increase the success of a center’s weight loss and weight management service lines. And this success would be good for the bottom line.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Twenty-to-Fifty Percent Weight Loss Can Greatly Improve Health

Reports in the past have indicated that even a 10% weight loss can lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Now a new study done at the New York University School of Medicine shows that for someone with a body mass index (BMI) between 30 and 40, a weight loss of 20 to 50% can resolve or greatly improve type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea, in addition to lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.

To give you some idea of what the above BMI range means, for someone who is six feet tall, a BMI of 30 is equivalent to approximately 225 pounds. And for this person, a BMI of 40 is equivalent to approximately 300 pounds.

We think that the New York University study results are important because many times, even with bariatric surgery, people don't achieve 100% of their weight-loss goals. However, based on the study, even if you don't achieve one hundred percent of your goal, you can greatly improve your health, and probably your quality of life, by losing some weight.

This is important information for a weight loss or bariatric center, since a center can impress on prospective customers the benefits of almost any weight loss. Imparting this information should be an integral part of all ongoing weight loss or weight management programs. And integrating this information into its marketing endeavors should be among the activities a bariatric or weight loss center engages in.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Insurance for Bariatric Surgical Complications

In 2006, the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) estimated that less than 1% of persons needing bariatric surgery actually get the surgery. Part of the reason for this is the cost of the surgery.

Some estimates put bariatric surgery at around $25000.00 on average. Getting insurance companies to pay for the surgery often proves difficult. And even if a prospective patient is able to pay out-of-pocket for the basic surgery, associated medical care complications can drive the cost up.

Surgery related medical care complications can can cause the cost of the surgery to rise to more than double the original cost. So even for a potential patient who can pay for the basic bariatric surgery, the possible additional cost to treat medical care complications can discourage the potential patient from getting the surgery.

However, the financial services company, BLIS, recently introduced an insurance policy for bariatric surgical patients that covers the cost of medical care complications. The name of the BLIS product is BLISCare.

BLIS does have a set of standards that must be satisfied by the bariatric surgical provider. Standards for a provider include having been inducted into a bariatric Center of Excellence Program (COE), such as the one initiated by the ASMBS.

In any case, we believe that this policy could encourage some to get the surgery who would not otherwise do so, since this policy serves as protection against the cost of possible complications. Therefore, the policy could increase the market for bariatric surgery.

This kind of policy underscores the fact that bariatric centers should establish, maintain, and enforce high standards for the surgery. These centers should position themselves to enter a COE program or maintain their standing in the program. This should be part of any surgical weight loss center's strategic plan.
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