Trialing major weight loss for type 2 diabetes in the overweight
In the first trial of its kind in the world, researchers at Monash University's Centre for Obesity Research and Education (CORE) will examine the benefits of a gastric banding procedure on overweight people with Type 2 diabetes.
Lead investigator Professor Paul O'Brien said until now gastric banding surgery was reserved for people who were obese - with a Body Mass Index (BMI) rating greater than 30.
"We know the benefits of weight loss in obese patients and we now want to find out if people who are moderately overweight will benefit from weight loss more efficiently and permanently using gastric banding and therefore put their Type 2 diabetes condition into remission," Professor O'Brien said.
Professor O'Brien said the benefits of gastric banding surgery in the reduction of Type 2 diabetes in obese patients was proven following clinical trials at CORE two years ago.
"We cannot assume from that research that the gastric banding procedure would also be the best treatment option for those who are overweight (BMI 25 - 30). There are possible differences in the background drivers of the disease that may be significant and currently we do not offer the gastric banding procedure to people who are not obese," Professor O'Brien said.
Fifty volunteers are being sought to participate in the randomised trial. Half will undergo gastric banding surgery, the other half will have their Type 2 diabetes monitored and given assistance to lose weight through diet and exercise.
"It is quite hard to lose weight and to keep it off. Two out of every three adults in Australia are overweight and most have tried, often many times, to lose weight and keep it off but most are unsuccessful," Professor O'Brien said.
"We do know that the most effective treatment for diabetes is weight reduction. It is a disease that is, to a large extent, caused by excess weight and it can be controlled by weight loss. We have very strong evidence now that the higher your weight, the more likely you are to have diabetes and we suspect that the more weight you lose regardless of whether you were obese or not, the more likely that your diabetes will go into remission," Professor O'Brien said.
Type 2 diabetes is one of the fastest growing diseases within Australia with an estimated 275 new cases diagnosed each day at an annual cost to the health system in excess of $3 billion. It can result in major problems in many parts of the body including the heart, leading to heart attacks, the vascular system leading to insufficient blood to the brain and the legs in particular, the kidneys leading to kidney failure, the nervous system, leading to many different disabilities and to the eyes leading to blindness. People with diabetes have a reduced life expectancy.
"It is important that the community has access to the best possible clinical information available and this trial aims to provide the necessary data for people to make an informed decision about their weight and management of their Type 2 diabetes.
"If we can provide that information then they will be able to choose the best method for them to reduce their weight and to put their diabetes condition into remission," Professor O'Brien said.