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Type 2 Diabetes: Study Finds Bariatric Surgery More Effective Than Lifestyle Changes

Bariatric Surgery Diabetes

For type 2 diabetes patients, lifestyle management has consistently seen recommendations from health professionals, but the findings of a new study indicate bariatric surgery to be a more effective method of addressing type 2 diabetes than lifestyle changes.

In the study, which was published on July 1 in the journal JAMA Surgery, researchers set out with the objective of comparing the remission of T2Dm following surgical and non-surgical treatments. In order to do so, the researchers setup a 3-arm randomized clinical trial which was conducted at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center between 2009 and 2014.

About half of the study’s 61 participants had class 1 obesity and the rest were heavier. The participants, who ranged in age from 25 to 55 years old, were randomly assigned one of three treatments. The treatments included exercise and behavior changes, intensive lifestyle intervention for an entire year, or one of two weight loss surgeries: laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB) or Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB).

With the lifestyle group, the researchers did not document any cases of diabetes disappearing after three years. In contrast, the RYGB group saw three people and the LAGB group saw one person whose diabetes completely disappeared.

Dr. Osama Hamdy, the medical director of the Joslin Diabetes Center Obesity Clinical Program, was quoted by Reuters as having said that when it comes to studies such as this one, “we need to be very cautious when reading them and read between the lines.”

Any study like this we need to be very cautious when reading them and read between the lines (…) I’m cautious about this and people have to weigh the risks and benefits

Hamdy, who was not involved in the recent study, also cautioned doctors and those with type 2 diabetes to not get too excited about the results because only a handful of people in the surgery groups saw their diabetes disappear and newer lifestyle interventions have the ability to be very effective, Reuters reported.

After three years, 29 percent of the LAGB group and 40 percent of the RYGB group saw at least partial remission, however, nobody in the lifestyle intervention group saw even a partial remission of their type 2 diabetes.

The study’s lead researcher, Dr. Anita Courcoulas of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, was quoted by Tech Times as having said that the “durability of remission over time” is one of the most important aspects of the study.

Courcoulas and her co-researchers are pooling their data together with the results of similar studies across the United States, which she claims will eventually allow them “to see what the remissions look like at five and seven years,” not just three.

In other news, an almost century-old vaccine used to prevent tuberculosis recently received FDA approval to begin phase II clinical trials in order to test its ability to reverse advanced type 1 diabetes.

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