Magazine article USA TODAY

Gastric Bypass Extends Lifespan

Magazine article USA TODAY

Gastric Bypass Extends Lifespan

Article excerpt

Gastric bypass and other abdominal surgeries--means of helping severely obese individuals lose large amounts of weight--have gained in popularity as more people see their relatively immediate success in individuals wanting to drop 50, 60, or more pounds. Now, new evidence shows these surgeries may be extending or saving lives.

Lars Sjostrom and Claude Bouchard of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, La., were members of an international research team that tracked more than 4,000 obese individuals for upwards of 10 years. About half of the patients underwent bariatric surgery (the general term for various forms of weight loss surgery); the other half received conventional treatments. The researchers have concluded that "bariatric surgery for severe obesity appears to be associated with long-term weight loss and decreased overall mortality."

According to researchers, this is the first major study to confirm that weight loss of this magnitude decreases mortality. In the past, some had reported that weight loss was associated with increased mortality. "This was an interventional study," explains Bouchard, "meaning we enrolled obese patients into the study who had sought surgery and compared them to a similar group who were undergoing conventional treatment during the same time frame. …

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