Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Update on second person to have brain surgery for weight loss

Carol Poe, 60 years old, had had a "stomach stapling" (probably a VBG) and later was "revised" to a gastric bypass. Her original weight was almost 500 lbs - she's 5'2" and she still weighed 287 lbs when she went in to surgery. Apparently neither of the weight loss surgeries she had, had "worked" and of course, dieting hasn't worked either so Poe happily offered herself as a guinea pig for a new brain surgery which is supposed to kill the appetite. Neurosurgeon, Dr Don Whiting of West Virginia University is the one testing the procedure.

This surgery calls for two deep probes to be placed in her brain and 2 pace makers to be placed in her chest. The pace makers send out electrical currents to the probes and this supposedly kills her appetite. Her surgery lasted 3 hours and she was awake for the entire thing because when they place the probes they have to make sure they don't injure something else or take away any of her abilities.

She appeared on the Oprah show today (the show was originally aired in April) and said that after 2 months, she had lost a whopping (NOT) 11 lbs. She told Oprah that she didn't have any cravings and that she was eating a more healthy diet and that she is now going to the gym.

It should be noted that just going to the gym for two months could have explained the weight loss and that if she's only lost 11 lbs in two months even with going to the gym, she's not really cut down her food intake very much which suggests the surgery may not be cutting the appetite the way they hoped it would.

She's Whiting's second patient and he wants to do another soon. One of the requirements to be a guinea pig for this surgery, is to have had a gastric bypass (which apparently failed to cause a good weight loss), Whiting told the press in April. Don said he has to make sure the surgery is effective and safe.

Why Oprah decided to give this procedure her seal of approval by having the patient on her show (with Dr Oz) is unknown. But she made it clear on her show that she had no plans of having this brain surgery.

Carol Poe looks like she's survived the surgery well (Dr Whiting stated that there is a 1 in 100 chance of stroke or even death with this surgery) and she told Oprah that the loss of the 11 lbs has made it easier for her to move around and mow her grass. But likely, rather than the 11 lbs, it's been her trips to the gym which have made the difference in her ability to move better. Minus 11 lbs she still weighs 276 lbs at 5'2".

Dr Whiting expects to get FDA approval for this procedure in the next 2 years however, if Carol's lack of weight loss is any indicator, his path for approval may not be easy.

A similar surgery is used for Parkinson's disease but of course, long term repercussions with the new weight loss surgery could include the pacemakers moving around in the body or forming abscesses, brain damage from the flow of electricity into the brain and more.


purplegirl said...

I agree that the 11 pounds has nothing to do with it being "easier" to mow her lawn (weird?). I'm 5'3" and 270; it's really not such a huge, impeding weight. I don't understand how anyone at such a weight could put herself through such a dangerous surgery.

wriggles said...

which is supposed to kill the appetite.

This gave me chills, unbelieveable.

But in a way, it also could be part of the reason for the lack of weight loss.

It's clear that it is part of the design of our weight regulatory mechanisms to know that our minds are too prone to this kind of stupidity to be fully trusted to regulate body weight.

Therefore lack of weight loss shows that even if you can jettison appetite, your metabolism automatically adjusts to it, because of course it's a threat to the existence your too stupid to maintain directly.

I'm sorry to be sharp, but above all the mean minded stupdity of how we have got here really ticks me off at times.

We don't need to sink to this level even to find a way to lower people's weight.

Bianca Zaftig said...

Brain surgery!?!? Seriously?

I think some doctors are dertermined to kill us, if they can't make us thin. At least that way they don't have to look at us.

Rachel said...

The fact that no amount of dieting or even weight-loss surgeries have thus far "worked" might have served as a clue to Poe that her body is fighting stubbornly to remain a certain size.

OptimistiCynic: said...

It's a sign of the insanity of the War On Obesity that an 11 pound weight loss is being touted as a success story. Hell, before I'll agree to elective brain surgery you'd better promise me a lot more than 11 pounds of weight loss! I'm thinking a paid off mortgage, a personal chef, and kittens to lick me awake every morning.

cynth said...

I was channel surfing last night and stopped on this part of the show.

I wonder if a lot of this isn't a placebo effect. She said "she had more energy and was able to mow her lawn" and that "she makes better food choices". She said that when she opens the fridge she "grabs a piece of fruit, instead of a candy bar".

They asked the doctor if the surgery can "make" a person make better food choices and he said something like "yes we can fine tune that".

I feel I have to call bullshit on this whole procedure. She sounds like someone who has just started a diet, parroting all the diet speak. I feel badly for that she is so desperate.