Scientists have revealed that they are trying to develop drugs that mirror the effects of obesity surgery.
According to Dr Carel Le Roux from Imperial College London, obesity surgery is "the only proven way" to maintain weight loss and prolong life expectancy in people who are morbidly obese.
Both gastric band and gastric bypass surgery alter the balance of hormones that cause people to feel hungry or full, and scientists are trying to work out exactly how the procedures alter hormones in the gut so that they can produce new drugs that have a similar effect.
Dr Le Roux told the British Association Festival of Science at the University of Liverpool: "We hope to be able to understand the mechanisms of how the surgery works which would allow us to effectively 'put it in a bottle'.
"Our aim for one day in the future would be to produce some sort of drug which would have the same outcome as surgery, whilst avoiding the need to operate."
The expert suggested that such treatments could be available in five to ten years time, making obesity surgery redundant.
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