GREENVILLE, N.C., Jan. 10, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- While many make New Year's resolutions to lose weight for vanity reasons, for a host of others, it's a matter of life or death. According to the American Diabetes Association, 1.4 million people are diagnosed with diabetes every year, and being overweight raises the risk for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and having a stroke. For those who are morbidly obese and who already have type 2 diabetes or are in fear of developing diabetes, Diabetes Care, the official journal of the American Diabetes Association finally recognized that bariatric surgery should be considered a standard of care in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. This recognition supports the evidence reported more than two decades ago by Dr. Walter Pories, the founding chair of the Department of Surgery at East Carolina University's Brody School of Medicine.
"It's been quite remarkable, because the thought was that diabetes was an incurable, progressive disease, but with a fairly simple operation that takes about an hour, you can cure it," said Pories. "We found that diabetes disappears completely between 2-4 days after surgery."
Starting in 1980, 837 patients' weight-loss surgery outcomes were meticulously recorded and studied by a group of East Carolina University (ECU) physicians led by Dr. Pories. In 1995, he was the first to report hard evidence that diabetes was no longer a hopeless disease, but could be reversed by bariatric – or weight-loss – surgery. "It was met with resistance and disbelief, especially when it became apparent that the 'Greenville Gastric Bypass' operation pioneered by Pories also reversed hypertension, decreased the prevalence of cancer, and improved other health issues," said Dr. Betsy Tuttle-Newhall, current chair of ECU's Department of Surgery.
The original (1995) abstract shows results indicating that in addition to controlling weight and non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), gastric bypass also corrected or alleviated a number of other comorbidities of obesity, including hypertension, sleep apnea, cardiopulmonary failure, arthritis, and infertility. Gastric bypass is now established as an effective and safe therapy for morbid obesity and its associated morbidities. No other therapy has produced such durable and complete control of diabetes mellitus.
Pories, 87, is still on faculty at ECU's Brody School of Medicine where he is actively involved in diabetes research and serves as a professor of surgery, biochemistry and kinesiology. He was recently honored as an "Icon in American Surgery" by the American College of Surgeons for his extraordinary contribution to surgery, to medicine and to mankind. Pories is the first North Carolina surgeon to have received this honor.
Contact: Amy Ellis, director of communication for the Brody School of Medicine, firstname.lastname@example.org or (252) 744-3764
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SOURCE East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine