Diabetics eye obesity surgery to tame blood sugar

by ALICIA CHANG ,  The Associated Press | 2010-07-07

LOS ANGELES — For nearly a decade, Cristina Iaboni tried to tame her diabetes the usual way, through daily shots of insulin and other medicine.

Still, her blood sugar raged out of control. So Iaboni combed the Internet for another solution and found a doctor who is testing weight loss surgery on diabetics who, like herself, are merely overweight or a tad obese in an attempt to curb the chronic disease.

Scientists in recent years have discovered that diabetes all but disappears in some obese patients soon after the operation. Many were able to achieve normal blood sugar and ditch their medications.

But does the benefit extend to diabetics who are not quite as hefty? Performing surgery on the not-as-obese with the goal of reversing diabetes is provocative. Iaboni's surgeon is one of a handful of doctors around the world stretching the rules to see if the weight loss operation helps.

Iaboni had gastric bypass surgery last fall at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center as part of a study. In gastric bypass or stomach stapling surgery, the stomach is reduced to a thumb-sized pouch that holds less food.



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