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Gastric bypass surgery resolves diabetes in teens

December 29, 2008 |  2:34 pm

Amanda1_2Teenagers who undergo gastric bypass surgery are often immediately relieved of Type 2 diabetes, according to research published today in the journal Pediatrics.

Studies on adults with Type 2 diabetes show that gastric bypass can result in disease remission or better disease control. However, this study is the first to explore the effects of the surgery in children. The study examined adolescents with Type 2 diabetes, which is usually related to obesity and is being diagnosed with alarming frequency in American children and teenagers.

Dr. Thomas Inge, director of the Cincinnati Children's Surgical Weight Loss Program for Teens, studied 11 extremely obese teens with Type 2 diabetes who had gastric bypass surgery and 67 obese teens who were receiving medical management for Type 2 diabetes. Among the 11 teens who underwent surgery, all but one had a remission in diabetes. The response was so rapid, the patients often discontinued medication for diabetes control before leaving the hospital after surgery. These teens lost an average of 34% of their body weight one year after surgery. In contrast, the teens who were medically managed did not have any weight change after one year and were all still taking medication for diabetes. The adolescents who had surgery also had improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

"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," Inge said in a news release.

Inge and his co-authors noted that future studies will be needed to track the long-term health of teenagers who participated in the study. Cincinnati Children's Hospital is home to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health that will collect and report outcomes on 200 teens undergoing weight-loss surgery nationwide.

-- Shari Roan

Photo: Amanda Munson is among the participants in Cincinnati Children's study on gastric bypass surgery. Credit: Ernest Coleman / Cincinnati Enquirer