Health Highlights: June 23, 2014

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Weight Loss Capsule That Expands in Stomach Not a Game Changer'

A capsule that's designed to help people lose weight by temporarily expanding in their stomach in order to make them feel full just before meals is not the breakthrough some anticipated, a new study suggests.

After 12 weeks, people who took the capsule -- called Gelesis100 -- lost 6.1 percent of their weight, compared with 4.1 percent for people who were given a placebo.

That difference is "very modest" Dr. Daniel Bessesen, an endocrinologist at the University of Colorado, told The New York Times. He was not involved in the study.

"It doesn't look like a game changer," Bessesen added.

However, the findings presented Sunday at an endocrinology meeting in Chicago were hailed by Boston-based Gelesis, which developed the capsule. The company said it will launch a larger study next year in effort to win regulatory approval for the capsule.

"I'm definitely impressed, absolutely," study lead investigator Dr. Arne Astrup, head of the department of nutrition, exercise and sports at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, told The Times.

Gelesis100 is safer than many existing weight loss drugs, which act chemically on the brain to influence appetite, Astrup said.

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Public Comment Period on Proposed E-Cigarette Rules Extended by FDA

The period for public comment on a proposal to regulate electronic cigarettes and other tobacco products has been extended an additional 30 days, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.

The original deadline of July 9 was changed to Aug. 8 because the agency was receiving so many comments on how to regulate e-cigarettes. The FDA also wants to expand its powers to regulate hookahs, nicotine gels, cigars and pipe tobacco, the Associated Press reported.

The FDA seeks to ban sales of e-cigarettes to anyone under 18, add warning labels to the devices, and require its approval for new products. The agency also said it would be open to adding more restrictions.

Since it announced its proposal in April, the FDA has received more than 33,700 comments. It's not clear when the agency will issue its final rules, which many believe are likely to face legal challenges, the AP reported.

Posted: June 2014


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