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Health + Bulletin

Published:Wednesday | November 5, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Weight-loss surgery to prevent Type Two diabetes?
New research published in this week's Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology suggests that bariatric surgery - often thought of as a drastic, last-resort measure for weight loss - could cut the risk of developing Type Two diabetes by 80 per cent in those who are obese.

Using electronic health records from the United Kingdom, researchers identified 2,167 obese adults who had gastric bypass or other type of weight-loss surgery and compared them against 2,167 obese patients who did not have such treatments.

Martin Gulliford, a professor of public health at King's College in London, and his colleagues reported that the incidence of diabetes among those who had the surgery was 80 per cent less, even after controlling for other risk factors such as smoking and high blood pressure. Up to three per cent of those who are very obese develop diabetes each year.

Gulliford said in a news release accompanying the publication of the journal article that the results suggest that weight-loss surgery could be a "highly effective method of preventing the onset of new diabetes in men and women with severe obesity".

Obesity-breast cancer link for blacks, Hispanics confirmed in studies

Obesity increases the risk of certain types of breast cancer in postmenopausal black and Hispanic women, according to two new United States studies presented last Thursday at the American Institute for Cancer Research's (AICR) annual meeting in Washington, DC.

One study included research on 3,285 Hispanic women, which indicated that being overweight or obese increased the risk for oestrogen receptor (ER)-negative and progesterone receptor-positive breast tumors among postmenopausal women.

"We've known this for a long time for white women, but now we are seeing this also in Hispanic women," study author Esther John, PhD, MSPH, a senior research scientist at the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, said in an AICR news release.

The other study included research on more than 15,000 black women, which indicated that being overweight or obese increased postmenopausal women's risk of ER-positive breast cancer by 31 per cent. The researchers also found that the risk was nearly double among black women who were lean as young adults and gained weight in adulthood.

"We know that breast cancer has several subtypes and there is growing evidence that these subtypes have different risk factors," study author Elisa Bandera, MD, of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, said in the news release.

"The distribution of these subtypes and risk factors are different for African-Americans and Hispanics compared to white women."

One study is not enough, said Bandera. "We need to know more about what African-American women can do to prevent and survive breast cancers of all types, which are often aggressive and deadly."