Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Diabetes Cure!

Doctors have stopped short of calling it a cure, however a duodenal jejunal bypass may just be the first step in finding a surgical solution to the growing problem of type II diabetes. For those of us who are diabetic this is exciting news.

Having first read about the phenomenon where patients under going bariatric bypass surgery to combat their morbid obesity had became diabetes free I read this news with great interest. At the time it was still a "chicken or the egg" question as it was unclear if the obesity was the cause of the diabetes. The fact that such a huge percentage of these patients with diabetes became "cured" was enough to spur further study.

Currently few surgeons in the U.S. are offering the surgery, but doctors in India and Mexico have begun their own studies. One Brazilian surgeon already has performed 70 surgeries.

The doctor I saw on a FOX news video clip was downright giddy about the prospects for a cure for millions of type II diabetics. See clip here. He had also cited a long term extensive study where researchers aggressively treated high glucose levels in an effort to get blood sugar readings to normal levels in thousands of patients. The control group in the study was treated less aggressively, a treatment regimen the vast majority of diabetics receive today. Much to the surprise of the research team there was virtually no difference in the outcomes. Just as many deaths, just as much blindness and amputations.

It seems blood sugar levels are controlled by hormones secreted within the first 1 foot of the small intestine. By bypassing this (in some experiments a tube was placed in the first foot in a non surgical procedure with much the same result) section of the small intestine they found that blood sugar levels normalized in almost all the patients.

I truly hope this not just pie-in-the-sky hype. Diabetes is a terrible disease, this procedure, if real, is a miracle!