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Surgery for Type 2 diabetes?

Surgeons leading a study on a form of gastric bypass for people with Type 2 diabetes have found that some of their patients no longer had diabetes after the operation.

The operation is called a duodenal exclusion. In this study the procedure was carried out on people with Type 2 diabetes aged between 20 and 30 years old, with a BMI of between 22 and 34kg/m².

During the operation the upper small intestine is removed which results in the stomach feeding directly into the mid-small intestine.  This means that the time that the body has to absorb calories from food is reduced.

"It is difficult to draw firm conclusions from this work," said Dr Iain Frame, Research Manager at Diabetes UK.

"It is a very small study of seven people, with just two people having been followed up. Therefore, we don't know exactly what is happening in these cases.

“One possible explanation is that the intake of food has been so drastically reduced that the small amount of insulin still produced by these people is able to cope in the short term. It could also be that by diverting food away from particular parts of the intestine it may change the way the body’s hormones work.

“Either way, surgery should only ever be considered as a last resort. Losing weight through a healthy, balanced diet combined with physical activity has been shown, not only to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in the first place, but to significantly improve control of the condition, reducing the risk of developing the devastating complications of diabetes."

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