The Gastric Bypass Ripple Effect
October 31, 2011 4 Comments
Well, according to a new study reviewed recently in the New York Times, when you have a gastric bypass, your friends and family will likely share in the weight loss experience. Research shows that family members of patients having the popular obesity surgery show a tendency to lose weight, eat better and exercise more.
The phenomenon was dubbed by the study’s authors as the gastric bypass ripple effect . Dr. John Morton, study author and director of the Stanford School of Medicine bariatric surgery program, published the research findings in The Archives of Surgery.
Americans have the gastric bypass weight loss surgery procedure at a rate of ~200,000 every year. The weight loss surgery procedure (dubbed the ‘gold standard’ of obesity surgery by National Institutes of Health) includes reduction of the stomach size as well as re-routing of the intestines.
The gastric bypass procedure results in significant weight loss – often up to 80% of excess weight is lost within a 12-24 month period following the procedure – as well as improvements in overall health including the resolution of Type 2 Diabetes – the leading cause of kidney disease, adult blindness and amputation.
“If you have a committed and involved family, you’re going to have better outcomes for the patient… family members can have a collateral benefit (as well).”
~Dr. John Morton, Director of Stanford School of Medicine Bariatric Surgery Program
Gastric Bypass as a Cure for Type 2 Diabetes?
More than eighty percent of patients having gastric bypass surgery experience total resolution of Type 2 Diabetes . Type 2 Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the US, with an estimated 26 million adults and children currently diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, as well as an additional 79 million suffering from the condition but currently undiagnosed, according to the American Diabetes Association.
What’s more, cases of Type 2 Diabetes will continue to increase; United Health Group estimates the number of cases will increase from the current 8% of the population to 50% of the population within a decade.
It’s no wonder that Dr. Oz advocates for more gastric bypass, saying “We probably do only 1% of the gastric bypass surgeries we should do.”
Is Weight Gain Catching?
It’s certainly good news to hear that we can ‘contaminate’ our friends and family with our weight loss, when earlier this year the media were sirening the opposite, i.e. that weight gain is catching.
In July, scientists at the International Journal of Obesity reported the discovery of a virus that caused chickens and rodents to ‘catch’ fat like they would a cold, a report that caused ABC News contributor Nicholas Regush to claim he was breaking out in a cold seat for fear of contracting obesity from his fellow food court denizens while shopping at the mall.
“It’s bad enough that fat people in this thin-obsessed culture are often treated badly or like they belong in a zoo, but now watch out for signs of more extreme discrimination.”
Regush’s Second Opinion op ed piece quotes obesity experts Nikhil Dhurandhar and Richard Atkinson, whose research at the University of Wisconsin revealed an adenovirus – the so-called adenovirus-36 – may somehow be linked to obesity in humans.
Adenoviruses are known to cause such maladies as that cause maladies such as pink-eye, diarrhea and the common cold in humans. According to the research, fat, apparently, is the next malady on the list: fat people are eight times as likely to have the virus as lean people.
Researchers have looked at other adenoviruses – the adenovirus-36 is just one of more than 50 human adenoviruses and found no difference in infection rates in fat and lean people.
Previous studies on chickens, mice and marmosets showed that those injected with Ad-36 develop more body fat than non-injected animal controls. Is this what is happening in humans? It’s not clear, since researchers have yet to pull live Ad-36 out of anyone. What researchers are clear on: both genetic and environmental factors play a role in obesity.