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The Boston Globe


Science in Mind

Getting benefits of gastric bypass without the surgery

Stomach-shrinking gastric bypass surgery is a powerful, though risky, way to combat extreme obesity. Now, scientists have discovered a way to achieve some of the procedure’s potent effects without the surgery, raising the possibility that new and less invasive obesity therapies could be developed.

Scientists have long been intrigued by a peculiar fact about gastric bypass surgery: It is effective — far more effective than it logically should be, if it is really just limiting absorption of nutrients. Beyond just weight loss, the operation increases energy expenditure, boosts the hormones released by the gut, and improves the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar — so much in some patients that their type 2 diabetes disappears. Researchers wanted to know why.

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