Study Finds Surgery as Effective as Medication in Slowing Diabetes Progression

Gastric banding surgery can be as effective as the anti-diabetic medication metformin in slowing progression of prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes, according to a recent study. The findings were concurrently published in Diabetes Care on October 3 and presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes Annual Meeting in Berlin, Germany.

The Beta Cell Restoration through Fat Mitigation (BetaFat) study enrolled 88 mild-to-moderately obese participants with either prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes. Half of the participants underwent gastric banding surgery, a type of bariatric study recommended for weight loss where a band is placed around the upper part of the stomach to slow digestion. The other participants received metformin, the most commonly prescribed medication for people with prediabetes and early Type 2 diabetes. After two years, the study found that people who underwent the surgery lost significantly more weight as people who only took metformin, yet both groups had similar Beta cell function, the key to the body’s ability to make and release insulin.

The results are part of a larger study called Restoring Insulin Secretion, or RISE, which is as funded primarily by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) of the National Institutes of Health and conducted at eight study sites. The Biostatistics Center based at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health serves as the coordinating center for the ongoing study. In this role, the Biostatistics Center manages numerous aspects of the study, including collaborating with the clinical center investigators on the study design, developing the operations manuals and assisting with data analysis.

“We’re playing a crucial role in gathering data that will help health professionals better treat people with Type 2 diabetes,” said Sharon Edelstein, ScM, Lead Research Scientist and Principal Investigator of the coordinating center for RISE.