Scientists believe that a non-invasive device that mimics the effects of gastric bypass could one day provide a new form of obesity treatment
A study on animals found that lining the upper portion of the small intestine with an impermeable sleeve led to both weight loss and normal glucose metabolism.
The research is published in the journal Obesity and represents the first controlled test of the potential obesity treatment.
Dr Lee Kaplan, director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Weight Centre, commented: "This is a clear proof of principle that the human version of this device may be an effective treatment for obesity and diabetes."
The expert explained that the device can be placed endoscopically, meaning that it is less invasive than existing surgical options.
Next, the team plans to conduct large-scale clinical trials in human patients to determine whether the technique could be used to treat obesity.
Current forms of obesity treatment include gastric bypass, gastric banding, gastric balloon and weight loss drugs.