Tuesday, November 25, 2008

a buzz of bogus studies on fat and weight loss surgery

So you are wondering why I have not blogged in a while. Truth being we have been lately inundated with fat and weight loss surgery studies which are obviously flawed. And sometimes it feels like mentioning them is similar to trying to lower the level of the ocean by taking out tea cups full of water.

This morning I saw a study which was questionable enough that I had to report on it. It appeared in the JAMA that is, the Journal of the American Medical Assn, Nov 19 2008. (here I recall the issue of the same magazine - after numerous studies had already suggested smoking was unhealthy - which pictured several doctors on the cover, all smoking cigarettes as an accompaniment to an article about how cigarette smoking was a healthy way to lower stress!).

The Conclusion of this latest study was that women who get pregnant after gastric bypass, have LESS complications in their pregnancies.

First thing to question is it comes from the Rand Corporation, the same group which, a few years ago, announced that one of their studies had suggested that smoking was less dangerous than being fat (this was based on a few thousand people called by telemarketers and asked 8 questions, including height, weight, age, whether they smoked and 6 more about their health). Needless to say, even the diet industry no longer quotes THIS study.

Second, two complications were mentioned - gestational diabetes and high blood pressure (the latter which isn't really a complication of pregnancy anyway).

What is NOT mentioned is that these do not necessarily affect the baby at all (I can attest to that personally knowing a lady who had gestational diabetes and delivered perfect, healthy bright kids).

The researchers, we are told, looked at 75 studies which they selected out of 260 studies. And likely they only selected the ones which gave them the favorable results they wanted.

Some studies I've seen, which suggested the gastric bypass patients tend to have smaller babies and a higher rate of still borns, even if they DO NOT have gestational diabetes or high blood pressure, were likely not selected to be "reviewed".

It's kind of a no brainer that if the mother is not digesting vitamins, it might negatively affect the baby.

Another show called "Extreme bodies" on the Discovery Channel, might have been an infomercial for Dr Rabkin and the Duodenal Switch/Bileo Pancreatic diversion. Ironically, the patients shown in the film were still rather large and Manny Yarborough, the ex Sumo wrestling champ who is up to 750 lbs now (after keeping up his exercise after retiring from the ring for a while) and has decided to NOT have WLS. He states in the end of the film that his friend who died from WLS, told him on his death bed, to "not let them do that to you". So far, he's taken this advice.