The Washington Times - February 23, 2009, 03:22PM

When stomach-stapling surgery is performed on obese adolescents, they usually experience immediate and complete relief from health-imperiling type 2 diabetes, a recent study has showed.

While other studies have indicated such a benefit for adults with type 2 diabetes, this is the first research to examine the issue in children. Type 2 diabetes is usually connected with obesity, which has been characterized as an epidemic in America today. More than 17 percent of American children age 6-19 are obese (having a body mass index of 30 or more), according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


In the recent study, the subjects included 11 extremely obese teens with type 2 diabetes who underwent gastric bypass (stomach-stapling) surgery and 67 obese teens who were treated with medication for their type 2 diabetes. In 10 of those who had surgery, all symptoms of diabetes quickly disappeared. The response was so fast that diabetes medication could often be stopped even before they left the hospital following surgery.

One year later, the stomach-stapled adolescents had lost 34 percent of their body weight, on average. The teens who had received only medication had no weight change, and were all still being medicinally treated for diabetes. Those who had surgery also exhibited improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride readings.

“The results have been quite dramatic, and, to our knowledge, there are no other anti-diabetic therapies that result in more effective and long-term control than that seen with bariatric surgery,” said Thomas Inge, director of the Cincinnati Children’s Surgical Weight Loss Program for Teens.

Inge and his team said that more research is necessary to track the long-term health of the adolescents who participated in the study.

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