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'Lap-band' weight loss surgery in very obese adults improves mental health

One year after weight loss surgery with laparoscopic gastric banding, extremely obese adults demonstrate not only better physical health but also improved psychological health, a new study shows. The results will be presented Monday at The Endocrine Society's 92nd Annual Meeting in San Diego.

"Surgical treatment, such as laparoscopic gastric banding, is increasingly recognized as the most effective means of achieving weight loss and improving blood sugar control in morbidly obese patients with Type 2 diabetes," said study co-author Andrew Johnson, MD, of Southmead Hospital in Bristol, U.K.

"However, until now, the long-term psychological status of morbidly obese individuals undergoing gastric banding has been unclear despite its increasing use," said Johnson, a consultant physician specializing in diabetes and endocrinology.

Laparoscopic gastric banding, also called the "Lap-Band" procedure, is a minimally invasive weight loss surgery. It involves repeated adjustment of a band to gradually make the stomach smaller and limit food consumption.

Four men and 21 women (ranging in age from 30 to 58 years) participated in the study and had the weight loss surgery. Of these 25 patients, 16 had Type 2 diabetes and nine did not. All had a body mass index (BMI, a measure of body fat) that classified them as morbidly obese.

Participants completed psychological testing before surgery and six and 12 months after surgery. These tests measured general anxiety and depression, quality of life, and social anxiety, that is, anxiety related to what others might think of one's appearance.

Compared with before surgery, patients' psychological test scores improved significantly at both six and 12 months after surgery. They had better psychological and physical quality of life, reductions in levels of general anxiety and depression, and reductions in their levels of social anxiety.

As shown in other studies, gastric banding significantly reduced BMI and hemoglobin A1c, a measure of blood sugar control over time.

"These results provide evidence one year after gastric banding that psychological health improves in parallel with physiological health," Johnson said.

Researchers at the University of the West of England in Bristol also contributed to this study.

Aaron Lohr | EurekAlert!
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