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Obesity Surgery Offers Cure

Obese individuals who underwent a surgical procedure for weight loss were more than five times more likely to see their diabetes resolved than people who relied on lifestyle modifications alone. An Australian study reported that weight-loss surgery using gastric banding can reverse type 2 diabetes in obese people.

Sixty obese people with type 2 diabetes were randomly assigned to undergo adjustable gastric banding surgery and a lifestyle modification program, or the lifestyle modification program alone. Seventy-three percent of the patients who underwent both the surgery and the lifestyle modification program had complete remission of their diabetes within two years, compared with only 13 percent of the lifestyle-only group.

A two year follow-up showed that the surgery patients had an average body weight loss of 21 percent, compared to less than two percent for the lifestyle group. In order to reverse type 2 diabetes, people would have to lose 10 percent of their body weight, according to the researchers.

“It may be time to view bariatric operations not as treatments for patients with BMI greater than a certain level, but rather as interventions about which all obese patients with diabetes should be informed and given access,” said Dr. David Cummings and Dr. David R. Flum of the University of Washington in Seattle, in an accompanying editorial.

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