Bariatric or weight loss surgery has in recent years been hailed as the solution to the obesity epidemic. As more and more of this surgery is being done, doctors have started to notice something else. It’s not just obesity that it addresses, but also type II diabetes. In a groundbreaking study published in the Lancet last month, scientists found that bariatric surgery has cured half of patients diagnosed with the disease for at least five years. Some 60 people were enrolled in the study, which compared standard drug therapy for the disease with surgery that reduced the size of patients’ stomachs. Although not all the participants were ‘cured’, overall 80 per cent of those undergoing the operation were able to maintain ‘optimal control’ of blood sugar levels, despite only being on one medication, or on no medication at all. If patients can maintain optimal control, then the risk of complications from their diabetes is significantly reduced. Indeed it was also found that patients who underwent the operation were significantly less likely to suffer with heart problems, which is a common issue experienced by those with uncontrolled diabetes.
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The study that identified 35 as a cut-off year was based on 17th-century church records. More modern evidence is available