Gastric bypass results without the surgery?

PENN STATE (US) — Knowing how gastric bypass surgery works may lead to new treatments that produce the same results without an operation.

The surgery changes properties of nerve cells that help regulate the digestive system, according to researchers who have shown how surgery restores some properties of nerve cells that tell people their stomachs are full.

The results may also better predict which patients will keep the weight off after surgery.

Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, a procedure that reduces the stomach to about the size of an egg, is the most effective way to get severe obesity under control. Doctors make the stomach smaller and bypass a section of the small intestine.

While the procedure restricts the amount of food a person can eat at one time, it also seems to alter the properties of nerve cells.

“Restricting the size of the stomach has some role in the effectiveness of gastric bypass, but it’s not the full story,” says Kirsteen Browning, assistant professor of neural and behavioral sciences. “It is not fully understood why the surgery works.”

Complications from diseases such as diabetes can resolve before weight is lost, and sometimes before the person even leaves the hospital after gastric bypass surgery. “This suggests an altering of the neural signals from the gut to the brain and back,” Browning says.

Signal to stop eating

These nerve cells send signals to tell the body’s digestive system how to respond properly and regulate normal functions of digestion. In obese people, the nerve cells are less excitable, meaning they respond less to normal stimulation. For example, there are neurons that help tell a person that their stomach is full, called satiation.

“These signals tell you to stop eating,” says study co-author Andrew Hajnal, professor of neural and behavioral sciences. “Obviously these signals are strong enough to be overcome by all of us and we can eat more even after we are told we are full. However, as obesity develops, it appears these signals are less strong and easier to overcome.”

For the study, published in Journal of Physiology, researchers used a high-fat diet in rats to replicate long-term exposure to a Western diet. They then observed the effects of gastric bypass on the rats and have shown for the first time that the effects of diet on nerve cells seem to be restored to normal function after the surgery. This would help in restoring satiation signals so that they can be recognized more easily.

“We know gastric bypass improves the health of nerve cells and reverses the effects on the signals,” Browning says. “Even if the nerve cells have been affected over a long term, gastric bypass still improves toward normal function.”

The goal of this line of research is to find new treatments that will not require gastric bypass surgery, which is still considered an invasive procedure.

“Once we understand what gastric bypass is doing, we hope we can mimic that with other treatments,” Browning says. “Restricting the size of the stomach may not be the major player of the surgery; restoring normal neural function is also an important aspect.”

Scientists may also be able to determine why the surgery is unsuccessful for some patients and better determine if surgery is the best option.

“Gastric bypass surgery doesn’t work in all people,” Hajnal says. “Some people regain the weight, but we don’t know why. By understanding this happens, we may be able to predict in advance which patients will respond to the surgery.”

The National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation funded this research.

Source: Penn State

chat18 Comments


  1. Harry

    Here’s a thought – just stop eating as much!! There’s the answer. I wish people had more belief in themselves.

  2. McCloud

    Here’s another thought, get on a damn treadmill and eat something that’s green once in a while.
    90% of people use that surgery as an excuse to continue their lazy lifestyle, like it’s some miracle cure to fatness.

    What good is looking better if you don’t feel better? And how do you expect to feel better knowing you haven’t earned your looks? I mean if I was genetically predisposed to being obese, which I am giving fat people the benefit of the doubt here by saying that is the case sometimes, I would be at the gym every damn day, keeping that shit in check. If I saw a flab of fat hanging out of my t-shirt or pants, I would be embarrassed to even go outside unless it was to run my **** off until I’m in shape. What the hell is wrong with people, when they look at themselves in the mirror, do they not say, “Hey I should probably excercise and I won’t look and feel so miserable.”

  3. Truth

    Wow, such strong opinions on what other people choose to do with their bodies!

  4. Truth

    You know, I’ve come to a conclusion– an obvious one to me, after reading so much about WLS… you rabid opponents of WLS are mad because you get off on looking down on “fat people” and you’re deathly afraid of the success rate this option empowers “fat people” with. When you don’t have them to make fun of and feel greater than, you’re not gonna feel as good about yourself anymore, are you?

    One would think that these abusive loudmouth fat haters would LOVE a world free of fat people, right? Why do these fat haters cry, whine and stomp whenever gastric bypass is mentioned? Think about it.

    Oh I know, you’re gonna say you’re not hateful or abusive, but blame fatties that choose gastric bypass as a way to get their weight in check are “lazy” and “taking the easy way out”, right? (as if that opinion really justifies such harsh judgments on what other people choose to do with their own bodies anyway) but I digress. Oh yes, the world would be a much better place if we all didn’t take the “easy way out”. I’m sure you walk ten miles to work in the morning because a car is the easy way out! Break out the washboard, I bet you scrub your clothes by hand, right? Washing machines are for pansies!

    But, but, cars and appliances aren’t the same as human bodies! Ok, lets get rid of breast cancer treatments, that’s for wusses. You should fight your disease the HARD way, at home, with no help! Oh, cancer victims don’t “bring their illness upon themselves”, you say? Well, with all the information out there on what causes cancer, I’d beg to differ, so…

    You picking up what i’m putting down? Basically, your arguments are invalid. The only reason anyone would be frothing mad about a fat person becoming slim quickly is jealously.

    I suggest you get over it, quickly. Not only does GB work, but it’s all the rage. They’re getting it in public, private and every which way in between. Not only that, but now that the AMA has classified obesity as a disease, a LOT more money is going to be put into surgery and method research and prevention. I’m sure you’ve heard of the gastric sleeve, too, right? It’s only downfall, a 25 yr experienced surgical doc told me, is that the procedure is TOO simple and easy.

    And I’ve just gotta say…

    “And how do you expect to feel better knowing you haven’t earned your looks?”

    You wanna tell that to every single person out there that ever had a boob job, nose job, lipo, lip injection? Hell, why stop there? What about anyone that wears makeup or uses hairspray? Are you TRULY serious? It’s really, really obvious… YOU’RE JEALOUS. Like I said, better get over it.

  5. Rhonda

    I’m a vegetarian, darn near a vegan, that limits gluten. I’m a house painter by trade. I don’t smoke and I rarely drink. I have been obese since I was a child, where I lived and worked on a farm. Tell me again how I should get on a treadmill and eat something green, Because I’ve never heard that before and I’m too stupid to know that all by myself.

  6. Michael

    I’m glad it’s all so simple for you, McCloud.

    I’m lucky. I have a pretty decent metabolism that lets me get away with a subpar diet and little exercise, but keeps me at around 180 pounds (5’11”). Then there’s my friend who works 40 hours a week at his regular job, spends three hours a day commuting on public transport, works another 20 hours a week doing freelance work, and goes to home to take care of his children – cooking, cleaning, play time – and his sick wife. He hardly ever even gets six hours of sleep. Here’s why I bring him up: he eats better than I do but he’s fat. So he should be ashamed to leave the house because he doesn’t go to the gym for two hours a day! If he wanted surgery to lose the weight, he’d just be a lazy jerk, right?

    Fat is not healthy, and you don’t have to say it’s attractive if you don’t want to. But telling people they should be ashamed of themselves is a real ***hole move.

  7. J Reynolds

    I’ve recently just undergone the procedure myself and I’ve experience rapid weight loss in a very short amount of time. While it is true that I can not eat certain foods anymore, I am more than fine with adjusting what I eat to accommodate my new lifestyle.
    I have also started eating mostly all organic foods which is supposed to help your body with the healing process. Has anyone tried an all organic diet after surgery? Over-all the best piece of advice I can give is to stick to your gastric sleeve diet and watch the weight just melt off of you.

  8. sam

    im not obese but for my bmi i am overweight, i have always been overweight. i exercise and eat good portion meals. i only have 30 lbs to lose to be at a good weight for my height. the problem is that i don’t see myself losing weight im either at the same or im gaining. i dont know what to do. i think the surgery is too much for mee bc i am ot that big. but the surgery isnt for ppl who are lazy first off you have to lose a certain amount of weight to do it and second its good bc it fills ur stomach quicker and 3rd it makes the person feel better about themselves

  9. phil

    @Harry, are you an idiot. If it was that easy for people to “put the fork down” the world would be thin. It’s a lot more then that… bad eating habits, cheaply made food, etc.

  10. Kristy

    You guys need to spend the first year after bypass with someone and then talk about being lazy. It is hard work. We’ll just count your comments as ignorance and rudeness.

  11. teresa

    you know i hate people like mcloud! because they aready have it in their sick minds. about obese people. they are lazy and have no lives. but there are alot of obese people out there who are very hard working family going and dont have time to sit down and be lazy! but its just easier for them to put on the weight! so get off your damm high horse and try to be nice to others. or one day it could be you.

  12. Kendall

    I still haven’t tried this, and not really planning to order. But have you heard about this Gastric Bypass No Surgery on radio? There are also a lot of testimonials in YouTube (of course it includes negative comments). I just wanted to know more about this Roca Labs Product if it is safe for my wife? I wanted to give it as a surprise since she always complains about being obese. I’m obese too, but I don’t care. lol

  13. Shirley W

    My sister in law is using the same formula. The only complain that I heard from her was the taste of the formula. She didn’t know that she have to mix it with some flavored drinks though. It’s effective yes.

  14. Brittney GH

    I think we heard the same thing from the radio. The one that says gastric bypass no surgery right? I’ve checked on Google and it says about this Rocalabs thing. I’ve sent an email to them and got a reply about the formula. I don’t believe the effect that much but they said that it’s natural? Also LOTS!!! of videos about successful users in Youtube.

  15. Brenda

    I have checked into Rocalabs and consulted my docotor first as recommended. Especially as I have an underactive thyroid. I still have symptoms of being tired and is hard to get the energy most days to workout. My docotor looked at the ingrediants and gave me the ok to start this formula, not just the weight loss, hoping it will give me the energy needed that extra boost.

  16. Brenda

    ………also, GNC has a product sold in their store that gives you same effect of gastric bypass no surgery. I have not looked into the ingredients yet to compare. Pricing is about the same, although will allow you to buy 30 days supply at a time verses the 3+ months.

  17. Joe

    Go to the fucking gym and work out. Yes it will take time but at least you can say you earned it. Idgaf if your vegan or vegetarian that shit ain’t working go to the gym

  18. Starla

    I have read some of the comments and think some of you have never had a real weight issue. I mean of 100 lbs or more, because if you had you would have a perspective that is ok. I don’t hardly eat and medications I have to take cause weight gain. Some people have tried every diet and exercise program there is and don’t get the results needed. Don’t criticize someone unless you have walked in their shoes because words hurt and cause issues. Not every one’s metabolism works the same as another’s. But make sure to educate yourself on anything you choose to do learn what is expected from you and decide to commit to whatever program or surgery you choose. Mainly choose to do it for your health not as some think people do it because of vanity.

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