Study Finds Obese Diabetics Benefit From Surgery
Bariatric surgery is more effective than medications and dietary and lifestyle changes in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, according to a study published on Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the New York Times reports.
For the study, John Dixon, an obesity researcher at Monash University in Australia, and colleagues assigned 60 diabetes patients with an average age of 47 and a body mass index of 30 to 40, which is considered obese, to undergo adjustable gastric banding or receive conventional treatment, which included counseling on diet and exercise for weight loss and diabetes medications such as insulin and metformin when necessary.
The study found that 73% of participants who underwent surgery experienced complete remission of their diabetes, compared with 13% of those who received conventional treatment. According to the study, the surgery was more effective as a treatment for diabetes because participants who underwent the procedure lost more weight than those who received conventional treatment. Participants who underwent surgery lost an average of 20.7% of their body weight, compared with an average of 1.7% for those who received conventional treatment, the study found (Grady, New York Times, 1/23).
In addition, the study found that participants who underwent surgery were five times more likely to have their diabetes enter remission within two years than those who received conventional treatment (Johnson, AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 1/23). The study also found that 87% of participants who underwent surgery and lost at least 10% of their body weight ended treatment with medication within one year, compared with one participant who received conventional treatment and lost the same percentage of body weight (Maugh, Los Angeles Times, 1/23).
In an editorial that accompanied the study, David Cummings and David Flum of the University of Washington wrote that implications of study results remain uncertain because the participants all had relatively mild cases of diabetes with recent onset, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports (Fahy, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 1/23).
In addition, they wrote that gastric bypass surgery is more effective than adjustable gastric banding in the treatment of type 2 diabetes (AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 1/23).
An abstract of the study is available online.
NBC's "Nightly News" on Tuesday reported on the study. The segment includes comments from George Fielding, a surgeon at New York University Medical Center; Steven Nissen, chair of cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic; and a patient who underwent bariatric surgery (Bazell, "Nightly News," NBC, 1/22).
Video of the segment is available online.