A "world-first weight-loss device" that wires people's jaws shut so they can't eat solid food has been mocked online.
The DentalSlim Diet Control, which is fitted to the upper and lower back teeth, restricts users from opening their mouths more than about 2mm, meaning they can only consume a liquid diet, while allowing them to speak and breath properly.
UK researchers teamed up with the University of Otago in New Zealand to create the "intraoral" tool, which uses magnets to keep teeth firmly locked together.
A trial in Dunedin, New Zealand, found participants lost an average of 6.36kg (about a stone) in just two weeks.
In a report published in the British Dental Journal, lead researcher, University of Otago Health Sciences Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Brunton, described it as an "effective, safe and affordable tool for people battling obesity."
“The main barrier for people for successful weight loss is compliance and this helps them establish new habits, allowing them to comply with a low-calorie diet for a period of time. It really kick-starts the process,” Professor Brunton says.
“It is a non-invasive, reversible, economical and attractive alternative to surgical procedures.
“The fact is, there are no adverse consequences with this device.”
He added that it must be fitted by a dentist, but can be released by the user in the case of an emergency and can be repeatedly fitted and removed.
But the invention has been ridiculed on social media, with many shocked at its "world-first" tag.
One user commented on Twitter: "F***’s sake – there was a period 40 or 50 yrs ago when they wired people’s jaws together to achieve weight loss but they abandoned it because as soon as it was removed there was weight regain.
"This is just an iteration of wiring jaws shut."
Another added: "I’ve developed a world-first device to stop you from tweeting some s**t like this again," accompanied by a photo of a person with their arm covered in tape.
Others called the DentalSlim a "torture device" and accused its inventors of "hating fat people".
According to the World Health Organisation, 1.9 billion adults worldwide are overweight and 650million are obese, resulting in about 2.8m deaths a year.
It is estimated about 57% of the world’s adult population will be overweight or obese by 2030.
"In addition, psychological symptoms may be present, including embarrassment, depression and loss of self-esteem and obese people may suffer eating disorders together with stigmatisation and discrimination," Professor Brunton said.
“The beauty of it is that once patients are fitted with the device, after two or three weeks they can have the magnets disengaged. They could then have a period with a less restricted diet and then go back into treatment,” he says.
“This would allow for a phased approach to weight loss supported by advice from a dietician allowing long term weight loss goals to be realised.”
He added “Overall, people felt better about themselves, they had more confidence and they were committed to their weight loss journey.
“It’s hard yards. Patients who really want to do this have to be committed.
"But for those people who are really struggling – and let’s face it, that’s millions of people across the world – this is a way of getting them back into normal lifestyle diet habits by really pump priming the process.
“This could actually help a lot of people.”
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