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A 15-Minute Procedure Could Change A Diabetic’s Life Forever

A new treatment for Type 2 diabetes shows promise in revolutionizing the way the disease is managed. The EndoBarrier, developed at the United Kingdom’s Imperial College, is an implant in the small intestine that keeps food from being absorbed and thereby lowers the body’s resistance to insulin.

Early results from studies using the EndoBarrier are promising. A pilot study in 2011 showed that patients using the EndoBarrier experienced a significant drop in blood glucose levels, enough that the patients were able to decrease diabetes medications. The patients also lost as much weight as if they had undergone gastric band surgery, all while eating what they wanted.

The EndoBarrier is a small, balloon-like, sleeve-shaped implant made of acid-resistant fluoropolymer. It’s inserted into the small intestine via the mouth in a 15-minute procedure. Once installed, the EndoBarrier prevents food from being digested in the upper intestine.

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A new two-year study, about to start in 2015, plans to compare the efficacy of EndoBarrier in controlling Type 2 diabetes to that of standard medical therapies. If the study confirms the EndoBarrier’s ability to control diabetes and assist with weight loss, it could be revolutionary, providing a more effective treatment for Type 2 diabetics than the combination of diet, exercise and medication currently followed. The EndoBarrier could also provide a safer, less invasive and much less expensive alternative to the weight loss surgery that is currently considered the best treatment option for severely obese Type 2 diabetics.

Weight Loss

While some Type 2 diabetics can control their disease with diet and exercise, for others, especially the obese, this type of lifestyle treatment simply doesn’t work. If the ongoing studies on the EndoBarrier prove fruitful, this minimally invasive treatment for Type 2 diabetes could hit the marketplace within a few years, providing new hope for potentially millions of people.

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