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Surgery study

Study to investigate insufficient weight loss and weight regain

The study will investigate the inter-relationships between the bacterial composition of the gut and problematic eating behaviours, physical activity, mood symptoms and cognitive function

A team of researchers at seven institutions across the US is working to find out why some patients who undergo weight loss surgery do not lose the weight they expect or they regain weight. Dr Kristine Steffen, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences in the North Dakota State University (NDSU) School of Pharmacy is receiving a US$3.7 million, five-year grant award for a study that examines how biological and behavioural factors interact in determining the success of bariatric surgery.

Kristine Steffen

“There is a subset of patients who experience sub-optimal weight loss or weight regain following surgery,” said Steffen, who will serve as co-principal investigator in the study. “The factors that determine weight loss outcomes following surgery are still poorly understood. The goal of this project is to identify key behavioural and biological changes that predict post-surgical weight outcomes.”

The research titled “Mechanisms that Predict Weight Trajectory after Bariatric Surgery: The Interactive Roles of Behavior and Biology” is supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01DK112585. According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, an estimated 196,000 bariatric surgeries were conducted in 2015.

The research team will investigate factors for each of the two most common bariatric surgery procedures - roux-en-y gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy. According to Steffen, data from the study may allow doctors to better identify bariatric surgery candidates who are at risk for sub-optimal outcomes after surgery. Information from the study also may help clinicians target risk factors that can be modified.

The research team will investigate the inter-relationships between the bacterial composition of the gut and problematic eating behaviours, physical activity, mood symptoms, and cognitive function.

“Data and analysis from the study will be instrumental in moving toward individualised medicine in caring for patients with obesity who seek bariatric surgery,” said Steffen.

The research team includes: co-principal investigator Dr Leslie Heinberg, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University; Drs Ross Crosby, James Mitchell and Molly Orcutt, Neuropsychiatric Research Institute, Fargo; Dr Luis Garcia, Sanford Eating Disorders and Weight Management Center; Drs Ian Carroll and Christine Peat, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Dr John Gunstad, Kent State University; and Dr Dale Bond, Brown University.

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