The research showed that weight loss (gastric band) surgery could improve glucose control in overweight people with type 2 diabetes, with remission in up to 50 per cent of people who underwent the procedure.
The study was led by Emeritus Professor Paul O’Brien from Monash University’s Centre for Obesity Research and Education (CORE) and Dr John Wentworth from CORE and the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. The research was published today in the journal The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology.
The connection between excessive body weight and diabetes is well known and, while the benefits of weight loss for obese people with type 2 diabetes have been well documented, it has not previously been clear if those who were overweight would experience the same benefits. Fifty people with diabetes who were overweight, but not obese (a body mass index between 25 and 30) were enrolled in the study.
Professor O’Brien said this was the first randomised controlled trial to demonstrate that treatment of type 2 diabetes in overweight people by substantial weight loss was safe and beneficial.
“We provided a comprehensive program of multidisciplinary care to all of the participants, but randomly allocated half of them to receive an additional treatment of adjustable gastric banding,” Professor O’Brien said.
“The surgery was conducted as an outpatient procedure with no significant adverse effects. We were pleased to see that after two years into the trial more than half of the banded group were in remission of their diabetes while only eight per cent of the non-banded group were in remission.”
More than a million Australians have type 2 diabetes, and 270 people are diagnosed with the disease every day.
Dr Wentworth said the study clearly showed weight loss surgery was a valid option for overweight people with type 2 diabetes.
“More than half of the people who had the gastric banding surgery entered remission from type 2 diabetes," Dr Wentworth said. "This meant they required less diabetes medication and had fewer complications. The outcome was comparable to what you would see in the obese or morbidly obese populations undergoing the same procedure.”
He said the research challenged the existing dogma that only people who were obese would benefit from gastric band surgery. “Our results should open a dialogue in the medical community about whether there should be such a high threshold for gastric band surgery,” Dr Wentworth said.
The research was funded by the Centre for Obesity Research and Education, Monash University and the Victorian Government.
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