Gastric Bypass Surgery: A Fountain of Youth?
During the recent Obesity Week conference between the Obesity Society and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), Dr. John Morton, a bariatric surgeon at Stanford University and President Elect of ASMBS, presented some surprising data. He found that the telomere, an important marker of cell aging, increased in length after weight loss surgery:
“The study included 51 bariatric surgery patients (77 percent female, averaging 48.6 years old) with a mean baseline BMI of 44.3 kg/m2. One year after surgery, patients showed a 71 percent decrease in excess body weight, as well as reductions in CRP and fasting insulin. Changes in mean telomere length were not significantly different from baseline. However, significant increases in telomere length were observed in individuals with high baseline CRP or LDL cholesterol levels.”
The telomere protects the ends of chromosomes. The classic analogy is that of the shoelace aglet, keeping chromosomes intact during cell divisions. Telomeres a
re intimately associated with cellular aging at the molecular level. Preserving telomere structure or even lengthening them, is thought to “add life” to cells by extending the number of available cell divisions. Sound like the Fountain of Youth? Maybe.
Visit Boston Magazine for the rest of my article.