A study from the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston shows why gastric bypass surgery is the only effective treatment for morbid obesity. People who weight 100 or more pounds than they should are called morbidly obese because they are at high risk for premature death. After food enters the stomach, the stomach releases a hormone, called ghrelin, that makes people feel hungry. Preventing food from entering the stomach, prevents the stomach from releasing ghrelin, hunger and causes weight loss.

Doctors have known for years that the only way we have to cure morbid obesity is to make a hole in the upper part of the stomach so that food passes from the esophagus and almost directly into the intestines. Now we know why. This study shows that gastric bypass surgery prevents food from entering the stomach and therefore markedly reduces production of ghrelin. This why gastric bypass surgery succeeds and stomach stapling or banding often does not. For more on ghrelin see report #1133.

Obesity Research, 2003 Aug;11(8):919-24. Serum ghrelin levels in response to glucose load in obese subjects post-gastric bypass surgery. Tritos NA, Mun E, Bertkau A, Grayson R, Maratos-Flier E, Goldfine A. Joslin Diabetes Center, One Joslin Place, Boston, MA 02215, USA.

Checked 5/3/07

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