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As reported in JAMA, a recent study by Lars Sjostrom, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, has provided substantial evidence to support the hypothesis that weight loss surgery is an effective cure for type 2 diabetes.
Obesity and diabetes have reached epidemic proportions, with 347 million adults worldwide now estimated to be living with the disease. But while there's been a host of short-term studies that add considerable weight to the notion that bariatric surgery causes remission of diabetes, the long-term outcomes are largely unknown. Although, there was a study performed in 2013 which presented strong evidence in support of the idea that bariatric surgery can lead to long-term diabetes remission, albeit it from a much smaller sample size of subjects.
Swedish Obese Subjects (SOS) study
The recent research by Dr. Lars Sjostrom and his colleagues was a follow-up to the University of Gothenburg's previous study, entitled "The Swedish Obese Subjects (SOS) study". This groundbreaking prospective matched cohort study was conducted across 25 surgical departments and 480 primary health care centers in Sweden. Of patients recruited between 1987 and 2001, 260 of the 2,037 control patients and 343 of the 2,010 bariatric surgery patients had diagnosed type 2 diabetes.
The Benefits of Weight Loss Surgery
The proportion of patients in remission (defined as blood glucose < 110 mg/dL) after 2 years was 72 per cent in the weight loss surgery group, and 16 per cent in the control group. At 15 years, the diabetes remission rates decreased to 30 per cent for surgery patients and 7 percent for control patients. All types of bariatric surgery (lap band surgery, gastric sleeve, or gastric bypass) were associated with higher remission rates.
Furthermore, weight loss surgery was also found to be associated with a decreased incidence of microvascular and macrovascular complications.
"In this very long-term follow-up observational study of obese patients with type 2 diabetes, bariatric surgery was associated with more frequent diabetes remission and fewer complications than usual care. These findings require confirmation in randomized trials", concluded the authors.
Image credit: Courtney Benefiel