Weight loss achieved through clinical trial

Maria M., 63, a former Michigan mental health worker who retired to Phoenix seven years ago, was physically active and maintained a healthy weight of about 140 pounds for most of her adult life.

But a few years before she retired, when she quit smoking cigarettes, she lost the appetite suppressant inherent in nicotine. Soon after, she was diagnosed with a thyroid condition that further slowed her metabolism. That combination helped drive her weight up to nearly 200 pounds at one point.

“That combination was really a disaster,” shares Maria, born and raised in Detroit, who when she was younger played racquetball and softball, and in later years, became an almost daily walker. “I really never had a weight problem until my late 40s. I was discouraged that — even though I still walked — I wasn’t losing any weight.”

Looking for a solution to lose weight

When she saw an online advertisement for a weight loss program, she was ready but skeptical, not knowing at first if it was a scam. Maria called the phone number and left a message. When she got a call back, she was reassured when she learned the program was being run at the HonorHealth Research Institute.

“Once she said she was from HonorHealth, I went, ‘Oh, good this is on the up and up,’” says Maria. Shortly after that call, she visited the HonorHealth Scottsdale Shea Medical Center campus for a health evaluation and meeting with the project’s principal investigator, James Swain, MD, bariatric surgeon and medical director of the Bariatrics Research Division of the HonorHealth Research Institute.

She weighed in at about 190 pounds. Maria met with a dietitian who helped set her on the right track and encouraged her to drink more water.

Maria also received a device, which is a wearable patch that uses radio frequency and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation technology to help patients reduce fat by activating certain nerves in the skin above the stomach with electrical impulses that help suppress the appetite. The device works without the use of drugs, and its settings are controlled via Bluetooth connection to an app on a smartphone.

Set for 30 minutes before each major meal — breakfast, lunch and dinner — the device is worn daily, placed at the bottom of the breast bone. It is taken off 30 minutes after dinner.

The device helped Maria maintain her new limit of 1,200 calories per day. It was a little uncomfortable at first, and she was surprised the first time it pulsed. “But after that it was no big deal,” Maria explains. “It also really curbed my addiction to sweets.”

An HonorHealth patient

Experiencing success

The real test of the device was when Maria took her annual “girl’s trip” with four long-time friends to Florida and didn’t gain any weight despite eating at restaurants. “That was a win-win for me,” she says.

Maria, who lives in Anthem, walks three to five miles almost every morning around the track that encircles a nearby soccer park. She uses a device on her wrist to count her steps and sips water during each lap from her 50-ounce bottle.

When she finished the three-month clinical trial, she had lost 20 pounds.

“It worked – I was tickled pink,” shares Maria. “This (clinical trial) gave me a lot of incentive. I’m thrilled.” She still limits her calories and drinks lots of water on her way to her new goal of losing another 15-20 pounds.

Maria would recommend the HonorHealth Research Institute program to others who want to lose weight as she was impressed with the team and Dr. Swain. “They were wonderful,” she explains. “I can’t tell you enough. Very professional. He (Dr. Swain) is wonderful. Very thorough. Explained the program. Explained the device. He was great.”

Clinical trials available for weight loss

The demand for innovative – and less invasive – treatments for weight loss continues to grow. The HonorHealth Research Institute pursues clinical research to treat obesity placing an emphasis on investigating new endoscopic and nonsurgical approaches focusing on treatments that don’t permanently alter the anatomy of your GI tract.

Explore weight loss clinical trials