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Medical Edge: Study finds pill could replace invasive weight loss surgery

Updated: Monday, April 7 2014, 05:13 PM EDT
CINCINNATI (Liz Bonis) -- A new study by researchers at the UC Metabolic Disease Institute on how the vertical sleeve gastrectomy surgery could help you lose weight.

The vertical sleeve gastrectomy is one of the most common weight loss surgeries now. It removes about 80 percent of the stomach and changes the shape from a bag to a tube.

Dr. Randy Seeley just released details of a new study on this procedure. He says we used to think people who were overweight that had this surgery would lose the weight because they couldn't eat as much.

"The going version of this is that we made your stomach small so you can't eat as many calories. In some ways sort of like if we wired your jaw shut, but we did it with your stomach," says Seeley.

But studies showed that it wasn't the size of your stomach that mattered. It was actually how your brain communicated with your stomach that made the difference.

As part of the study, Dr. Seeley's team conducted laboratory studies and found the surgery alters bile acids and bacteria in the gut that influence receptors that signal the brain. He says we might be able to do the same thing without surgery someday.

Dr. Seeley says there are three things that make a difference.

"One is to make other types of procedures that are simpler and less invasive than a gastric bypass or a vertical sleeve gastrectomy, the second is to come up with of drugs that would change the signaling changes from the gut, and the last one is nutrition."

He says we don't know yet what foods we would have to recommend to get the same effect, but Seeley's next trials continue to look into this and the medications that might mimic the surgery's effect too.

This study is published in the online journal Nature.Medical Edge: Study finds pill could replace invasive weight loss surgery

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