The University of Otago in New Zealand is facing some backlash following their release of a "world-first weight-loss device" that more resembled a form of torture from the Middle Ages than a quick fix.
The device, touted by the University as developed to "help fight the global obesity epidemic," fastens onto the molars and locks a person's upper and lower jaw together so that they cannot consume anything but liquids.
Otago and UK researchers have developed a world-first weight-loss device to help fight the global obesity epidemic:… https://t.co/KE9VEy0obu— University of Otago (@University of Otago) 1624845663.0
People were immediately horrified by the device, with one person saying "it boggles my mind that this was most likely funded."
For a moment I'd like to move away from LGBT rights onto my other passion: fatphobia. As fat people we are taught… https://t.co/S77Ypvxyqb— charles beswick (@charles beswick) 1624930164.0
“Keep an aspirin between your knees will prevent pregnancy” but make it magnetic🥴 https://t.co/sugo2cZXcc— wicked witch of the east bro (@wicked witch of the east bro) 1624928705.0
Doctors figure out a minimally invasive torture / starvation device. https://t.co/DQ7VZoc5UO— Beyond Bullshit (@Beyond Bullshit) 1624928424.0
So in other words, encouraging an eating disorder is better than promoting healthy lifestyle changes??? Wow https://t.co/ZMo1jtR1u3— Nilla Wafer (@Nilla Wafer) 1624927760.0
Why do y'all hate fat people so much that dehumanizing technology like this seems like a good idea? https://t.co/0Pf2L6FFWW— a fellow vaccinated ghost (@a fellow vaccinated ghost) 1624926876.0
After getting flamed from all sides of Twitter, Otago quickly backpedaled their original claim that it was to "help fight the global obesity epidemic" and instead focused on people who needed to lose weight in order to have surgery:
To clarify, the intention of the device is not intended as a quick or long-term weight-loss tool; rather it is aime… https://t.co/Up2x1yThAg— University of Otago (@University of Otago) 1624854445.0
But folks were not buying this explanation, especially because it contradicted what lead researcher, Paul Brunton said about the device.
"The main barrier for people for successful weight loss is compliance and this helps them establish new habits, allowing them to comply with a low-calorie diet for a period of time. It really kick-starts the process," Brunton said of the device.
@otago Is... is this clarification meant for Professor Paul Brunton? If so, ouch. https://t.co/FxfNnBbxP0— Giovanni Tiso (@Giovanni Tiso) 1624855899.0
@Joel_the_Geek @otago Except it’s a direct contradiction to what they truly made this for. https://t.co/9Am5e1U5mZ— MJ 🍖🍖🍖 (@MJ 🍖🍖🍖) 1624895469.0
@otago No it doesn’t. It says “The tool could be particularly helpful for those having to lose weight before they c… https://t.co/4MaUncowQu— CJC (@CJC) 1624900944.0
@otago No, it isn't so narrowly focused. The article says it's for "But for those people who are really struggling… https://t.co/hzzTsr5qtT— Rob is wearing a mask and keeping his distance (@Rob is wearing a mask and keeping his distance) 1624895530.0
In the 1970s and 1980s, people would often have their jaws wired shut in order to restrict their eating habits and lose weight. However, a study by Vanderbilt University showed that once the wiring was removed, people would gain back all of the weight they'd initially lost.
That does not seem to bode well for this device, which operates in a similar fashion.
Not all change is progress. Being ethics back to medicine. https://t.co/kVmCiJ6gtj— Sun 🇺🇸 (@Sun 🇺🇸) 1624926116.0
This is some torture device. No joke. Why would anyone beyond the medieval century think this is ok? https://t.co/AiQxONfv0o— 久志渡辺 (@久志渡辺) 1624925054.0
One day, people will look at all of these 'weight loss devices' in a museum of torture and wonder how doctors could… https://t.co/E1CDgT8BOU— Cap'n Kyrie (@Cap'n Kyrie) 1624925006.0
This is a step in the wrong direction. This is a bad idea. Be HORRIFIED people. @ElisabethLatha1 @rxkxyxxxxx https://t.co/lFXnaCRMSp— K. Latham (@K. Latham) 1624925601.0
Just comically evil https://t.co/FjXLqjbV1I— 👁️𝚃𝚛𝚎𝚟𝚘𝚛 𝙷𝚎𝚗𝚍𝚎𝚛𝚜𝚘𝚗👁️ (@👁️𝚃𝚛𝚎𝚟𝚘𝚛 𝙷𝚎𝚗𝚍𝚎𝚛𝚜𝚘𝚗👁️) 1624895327.0
Participants in the trial of this device were only allowed to brush their teeth once over the course of seven days, and reported that they felt "occasional discomfort," and that "life in general was less satisfying."
This device's life is not off to a good start, if it has a life ahead of it at all.