MEXICO CITY – Mexican doctors at the Comprehensive Care Clinic for Patients with Diabetes and Obesity at Mexico General Hospital are seeking non-invasive new treatments, such as a therapy that reduces the appetite as a way of combating obesity, which was declared a national epidemic one year ago.
“In order to deal with obesity, we’re applying a treatment that is minimally invasive and is called bariatric embolization,” Guadalupe Guerrero, coordinator of vascular and interventional radiology at Mexico General Hospital, told EFE in an interview.
This institution has organized a multidisciplinary care project to treat obesity, a condition that according to the 2016 National Health and Nutrition Survey (Ensanut) had increased since 2012 from 34.9 percent to 36.3 percent of youngsters, and from 71.2 percent to 72.5 percent in adults.
“The procedure consists of entering the arteries that feed the bottom of the stomach and duodenum in order to embolize them, which means to obstruct them, to plug them from the inside,” said Guerrero, one of the 120 interventional radiologists in Mexico and the only one in this country authorized to perform a procedure that in the United States is performed only at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Embolization occurs upon “launching tiny biological spheres” that produce “ischemia at the bottom of the stomach,” which together with the duodenum is the place that produces the ghrelin. Guerrero explained that “ghrelin is the hormone produced in the body that stimulates appetite and causes hunger.”
“The glands that produce ghrelin are very sensitive to ischemia, that is, to the lack of oxygen,” Guerrero said.
This procedure makes the glands die but without causing collateral damage.
When an obese patient is admitted to hospital, a complete psychological profile is prepared.
“About 70 percent of our patients are addicted to carbohydrates,” and also have “additional addictions” like tobacco, alcohol and marijuana.
They are also “emotionally hurt by society,” since they are often the targets of bullying, above all among children.