New research shows that gastric bypass significantly reduces the inflammation associated with diseases including cancer and type 2 diabetes – more proof of the overall health benefits of such surgery beyond weight loss.

The study appears online in advance of print publication in the peer-reviewed journal Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases.

“We’re amassing evidence that weight loss is a very important part of changing the way the body’s systems work in people with high-risk diseases like diabetes and heart disease,” said Gary D. Miller, an associate professor at Wake Forest University and chief investigator on the study. “It can be encouraging for people who have these diseases and need to lose weight. We’re proving that the benefits of dropping the weight are excellent.”

This study is part of a series of research the team at Wake Forest has conducted to show how weight loss after gastric bypass transforms the body to fight high-risk diseases. Previous research showed that:

•Surgery followed by diet and exercise targeted fat loss inside the abdominal cavity. Increased levels of this abdominal fat, also called visceral fat, is known to boost the risk of developing diseases including cancer. This is the first study to compare levels of visceral vs. subcutaneous fat after gastric bypass.

•Younger people undergoing gastric bypass increased their mobility and improved performance of daily activities within about three weeks, compared with about seven months in older patients. This study seems to dispel the myth that rapid weight loss leads to loss of muscle mass and physical function.

•In the most recent study, based on data collected from 15 gastric bypass patients at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, researchers found that, by six months after surgery, proteins that caused inflammation had decreased, and proteins that reduced inflammation had increased. Such inflammation has been connected to the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

“I’m hoping this research will help us show people that weight loss is not just about dropping the pounds or about looking different,” Miller said. “It’s about changing your body’s disease-fighting power, too.”

Miller and his team currently are recruiting gastric bypass patients to study how supervised diet and exercise might increase and sustain weight loss after surgery.


Source: Wake Forest University Press Release

Originally posted by on July 8, 2011.