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obesity surgery cuts diabetes risk

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Updated: Friday, May 22,2009, 1:06:32 PM
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After having "lap band" surgery for weight loss, men and women show large increases in sensitivity to blood-sugar-regulating hormone insulin - even if they remain obese - a new study shows.

"They did not reach their ideal weight, to make very significant improvements in health," Dr. Joan F. Carroll of the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, one of the authors of the study, told Reuters Health.

Carroll reported the findings this week at the American Physiological Society's annual meeting in Washington, DC.

In the operation Carroll and her team are investigating, medically known as gastric banding laparoscopic surgery, an elastic band is placed around the stomach, restricting the amount of food the stomach can comfortably hold. Another procedure, gastric bypass surgery has been shown to help reduce the body's resistance to insulin - often a prelude to a real diabetes - before major weight loss occurred, but less is known on how the lap band surgery affects insulin resistance.

To investigate, Carroll and his team followed 37 patients lap band up to a year. Those followed for six months lost 23 kg (51 pounds) on average while the average weight loss for those who were followed for one year is 34 kg (75 pounds).

Their level of insulin resistance decreased by 60 percent after six months, she told Reuters Health, even if patients were clinically obese.

Given that insulin resistance increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, which has a number of other health consequences, including heart disease and even amputation, in the long term it's really an advantage for all body systems, "said Carroll.

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