Issue 23, September 2010
1. Brain Surgery to Treat Type 2 Diabetes?
    New research indicates that a brain surgery might be helpful to fight against diabetes. Dr. Peter Jannetta, neurosurgeon and his colleagues at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh conducted a small study in 10 patients with progressive type 2 diabetes and compression of the medulla oblongata which regulates the pancreas. The patients were not allowed to make any changes to their diet, weight or level of activity for one year after undergoing microvascular decompression procedures.

    The study hypothesized that relieving the nerve compression in the medulla oblongata could improve pancreatic function. Microvascular decompression, which is used for certain debilitating cranial nerve diseases, repositions the compressive artery and adds a protective pad between the artery and the nerve.

    Seven of the 10 patients showed significant improvement in glucose control, as evidenced by diabetes markers and decreased medication dosages. The three who did not improve had higher body mass indexes, qualifying as obese, unlike the other seven.
"Though our study involves a relatively small sampling of patients, we believe that it represents a major breakthrough," said lead researcher Peter Jannetta in a press release announcing the results.

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