Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Research into Bariatric Surgery Methods Opens Doors to Potential Therapies for Metabolic Conditions

Bariatric surgery is an important option for those experiencing severe obesity.  Indeed, for long term weight loss, bariatric surgery is generally more effective than diet, exercise, drugs, or lifestyle modification. Not only is bariatric surgery effective for weight loss, the surgery has also had beneficial effects on some harmful metabolic conditions.

For some time, we've felt that research into how bariatric surgery leads to weight loss and positive metabolic changes in the body will contribute to non-surgical weight loss treatments. Indeed, surgical research results will be useful to surgical and non surgical experts who develop therapies for treating obesity and metabolic diseases.

Many people believe that bariatric surgery causes weight loss by making changes, in the body, that limit the amount of food a person wants to eat.  Or that the surgery modifies the intestine to reduce calorie intake. However, as we've said before, the changes in the body, following bariatric surgery, are more complex than simple physical changes.

For example, Swedish researchers concluded that bariatric surgery is instrumental in gene expression modifications. These modifications are apparent in at least two genes. The genes are "called PGC-1 alpha and PDK4." These two genes are positively correlated with obesity. However, the effects of these two genes are reduced "after surgery-induced weight loss."

In a China mice study, researchers found that duodenojejunal bypass (DJB), an intestinal bypass procedures sometimes used in bariatric surgery, causes the intestine to absorb less glucose. The researchers concluded that DJB reduces the activity of the protein, SGLT1. SGLT1 or "sodium glucose co-transporter 1" is active in getting glucose into the small intestine. Understanding the function of this protein may enable researchers to produce drugs that target this hormone, and thereby treat type 2 diabetes.

While more DJB studies are required, the China study shows how important it is for researchers to investigate the effects of DJB, as well as bariatric surgery procedures. This type of research can lead to non-surgical therapies for weight loss, weight control, and metabolic diseases. 

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