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Gastric Lap-Band Surgery Can Send Diabetes Into Remission
Date:1/22/2008

It helps patients shed more pounds than dieting and exercise do, study shows

TUESDAY, Jan. 22 (HealthDay News) -- New research suggests that gastric lap-band surgery isn't only for the most obese; it can also combat diabetes in people who aren't severely fat.

Still, the surgery is extremely expensive and carries risks. However, the findings show promise for people with diabetes who need alternative ways to shed pounds, said study author John Dixon, a obesity researcher at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

"It doesn't seem to matter how you lose it," Dixon said. "This particular study shows that it's the weight loss that has the effect."

Gastric weight-loss surgery has rapidly grown in popularity in the United States over the past several years. The goal of the operation is to reduce the size of the stomach so people don't eat as much.

Meanwhile, cases of diabetes continue to skyrocket as Americans get heavier and heavier.

Previous studies have shown that gastric-bypass operations can reduce the incidence of diabetes in patients, Dixon said. The purpose of the new study was to determine if patients do as well when they undergo the less drastic gastric lap-band surgery, a procedure in which a band is placed around the upper stomach, limiting the amount of food that can pass through.

In the new study, researchers looked at 55 diabetes patients defined as obese with body-mass indexes between 30 and 40. In layman's terms, these people are carrying around more than a few extra pounds, but they're not so severely overweight that they'd require two seats in an airplane. (People with a body-mass index of above 40 are at least 100 pounds overweight.)

The patients were randomly assigned to either undergo gastric banding or to try to lose weight through diet and exercise.

After two years, diabetes went into remission in 22 of 30 surgery patients and just four of 30 di
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