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Weight + Wellness Research


The Weight and Wellness Center at Tufts Medical Center has been actively involved in major research programs and clinical trials since its inception. Our doctors participate in these studies so that we can provide the most advanced care to our patients. Our goal is to make losing weight as easy and safe as possible.

To learn more about our innovative research programs, see below:

Adipose/Jejunum Study

New medications for diabetes

The Weight and Wellness Center at Tufts Medical Center is currently investigating new ways to treat diabetes with novel medications.

The Adipose/Jejunum Study is sponsored by Pfizer with the aim of trying to find new ways to treat diabetes.  By taking tissue and blood samples we are looking at how the body deals with medications and how medications work inside your body.

Effect of Caloric Restriction and Aging on Inflammation and Iron Status

The Weight and Wellness Center finalized work on a study with the Division of Nutrition at Tufts Medical Center and the Tufts University Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging which aimed to determine how weight loss may affect inflammation and iron levels.

The study looked at the effect of weight loss through caloric restriction on iron status, inflammation and hepcidin levels in young and older women with obesity.  The obesity epidemic has affected populations worldwide, causing a serious threat to health in these populations by increasing risk of chronic disease.  Iron deficiency is among the newly encountered complications of obesity.  Hepcidin is a hormone-like peptide that regulates iron absorption and circulation in the blood, and is induced by iron overload, inflammation and infection.

Evidence suggests that the state of chronic inflammation present in obesity causes chronic hepcidin overexpression, increasing risk of iron deficiency. Studies in young and older adults are needed to further explore this mechanism and determine the effect of aging, which is also characterized by chronic inflammation, on this process.

This study explored this concept via caloric restriction in young and older women with obesity. The study subjects were women with obesity, either 18-45 years or older than 60 years who were participants in weight loss programs at the WWC.  Blood samples were collected at baseline and 12 to 16 weeks after caloric restriction. Iron status and immune response were measured before and after weight loss, in both age groups.

The manuscript for the study has been submitted and is in the process of being published.


Using an implantable device for weight loss management

The Weight and Wellness Center is a lead investigator in the EMPOWER clinical research study that is being conducted at selected Centers of Excellence in the US. It is testing a new medical/surgical device called VBLOC Therapy that includes an implantable device and an external belt device to control weight loss.

The study is being conducted to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of VBLOC Therapy. Patients receive implantation of the investigational device and participate in a medical weight management program. This program provides education and advice on diet, exercise and behavior modification to assist in meeting weight loss goals.

Unlike other types of bariatric surgery that alter the stomach's anatomy, VBLOC Therapy is delivered by an implantable, investigation device intended to block signals carried on the vagus nerve between the brain and the digestive system that controls sensation of hunger satisfaction and fullness.

VBLOC Therapy includes both external and implanted components. It may also be turned off and is designed to be reversible, programmable and non-invasively adjustable.

The EMPOWER study is currently closed to new participants.

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