Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Surgical Procedure Similar to Bariatric Surgery May Lead to Treatments for Diabetes

In the past, we've talked about the use of bariatric surgery for weight loss. And we've talked about the possible use of bariatric surgery for diabetes treatment. Well, recently, a group led by a UC Davis veterinary endocrinologist was able to "delay the onset of type 2 diabetes" using a surgical procedure similar to that used in bariatric surgery.

Bariatric surgery is primarily used for weight loss. The two most popular forms of bariatric surgery are gastric bypass surgery and lap band surgery. Gastric bypass surgery does two things to address weight loss: The surgery shrinks the stomach causing a person to feel full with less food. And the surgery re-routes the small intestine to lessen the number of calories (and nutrients) the body absorbs.

In lap band surgery, an adjustable band is placed around the upper part of the stomach, forming a small pouch or "new smaller stomach." Since the new stomach is smaller than normal, a person feels full with less food.

Both gastric bypass surgery and lap band surgery have led to type 2 diabetes remissions. Indeed, although some studies show that less weight is lost after lap band surgery than after gastric bypass surgery, a 2-year study reported in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) indicated that obese patients with type 2 diabetes who had lap band surgery experienced higher diabetes remission rates than patients who used conventional methods to control diabetes. So gastric bypass surgery and lap band surgery have led to reduced type 2 diabetes symptoms.

The UC Davis group used the bariatric-like surgical procedure, mentioned above, on rats. And that procedure delayed the symptoms of type 2 diabetes. Further, the researchers identified biochemical changes, brought on by the surgery, that might be instrumental in delaying type 2 diabetes symptoms.

Diabetes is a serious illness throughout the world. And effective treatments are in high demand. Therefore, finding ways to delay and reduce the symptoms of type 2 diabetes is of utmost importance. And if a surgical procedure, similar to bariatric surgery, can be used as a treatment for type 2 diabetes, this procedure will likely be beneficial to type 2 diabetes patients.

Offering this procedure could possibly give a bariatric surgical provider a competitive edge. The provider could legitimately market surgical services for diabetes as well as weight loss. So bariatric surgical providers should view the UC Davis research results as a possible source of future opportunity.

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