Obesity surgery can reverse type II diabetes for some

Original broadcast date: May 24, 2009

One of the wonders of science is how an action based on initial assumptions, hypotheses and theories can lead, at times, to unexpected and indeed beneficial consequences. When these consequences have the potential to affect the lives of millions of people, the research obviously takes on added significance.

The treatment of obesity via bariatric or gastric bypass surgery does help many to lose significant weight. Many of these people have type 2 diabetes. They have been either using insulin or a combination of oral medications to control the disease. However, the earlier the disease is diagnosed in a person’s life, the more likely they will suffer the myriad of cardiovascular and kidney complications among others. They believe that diabetes is a chronic, progressive incurable disease.

According to surgeon Dr. Richard Stubbs, this belief is wrong. He hypothesizes that type 2 diabetes is a disease of the gut and has evidence to substantiate the claim. Moreover, in diabetic patients who undergo gastric bypass, their type 2 diabetes disappears, in 6 days and never returns.

  • Dr. Richard Stubbs, Upper GI Surgeon and Professor, Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, Director of the Wakefield Biomedical Research Unit at the University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand

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