Swedish program can be effective in treating obesity, says British Medical Journal

An innovative device can help obese people regulate their diet

An innovative device can help obese people regulate their diet

The program is built around a computerized device called Mandometer. It focuses on normalising the eating behaviour of obese people while educating them about nutrition and increasing their physical activity.

Researchers at the Swedish academic health centre found that obese people tend to eat more because they do not recognise satiety regardless of the amount of food they ingest.

The Mandometer, developed by researchers Cecilia Bergh and Per Sodersten at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, helps the obese patients eat normally and develop satiety by adapting the eating speed of normal-weight individuals.

Mandometer is a portable electronic scale connected to a small computer that can generate a graphic representation of a patient's eating rate during a meal.

The Mandometer method is considered revolutionary because it ignores the standard approaches for treatment of eating disorders and obesity. Instead, it focuses on eating behaviour rather than on psychological issues.

Currently, there are four Mandometer clinics in Sweden, two in Australia and one in San Diego, US.

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Is anyone prepared to solve the NHS funding crisis?

As long as the political taboo on raising taxes endures, the service will be in financial peril. 

It has long been clear that the NHS is in financial ill-health. But today's figures, conveniently delayed until after the Conservative conference, are still stunningly bad. The service ran a deficit of £930m between April and June (greater than the £820m recorded for the whole of the 2014/15 financial year) and is on course for a shortfall of at least £2bn this year - its worst position for a generation. 

Though often described as having been shielded from austerity, owing to its ring-fenced budget, the NHS is enduring the toughest spending settlement in its history. Since 1950, health spending has grown at an average annual rate of 4 per cent, but over the last parliament it rose by just 0.5 per cent. An ageing population, rising treatment costs and the social care crisis all mean that the NHS has to run merely to stand still. The Tories have pledged to provide £10bn more for the service but this still leaves £20bn of efficiency savings required. 

Speculation is now turning to whether George Osborne will provide an emergency injection of funds in the Autumn Statement on 25 November. But the long-term question is whether anyone is prepared to offer a sustainable solution to the crisis. Health experts argue that only a rise in general taxation (income tax, VAT, national insurance), patient charges or a hypothecated "health tax" will secure the future of a universal, high-quality service. But the political taboo against increasing taxes on all but the richest means no politician has ventured into this territory. Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander has today called for the government to "find money urgently to get through the coming winter months". But the bigger question is whether, under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour is prepared to go beyond sticking-plaster solutions. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.