Brain surgery in the fight against diabetes

Fri, 13 Aug 2010
New research has indicated that a type of brain surgery could have a significant impact on the onset and progression of type 2 diabetes . The study, published in the journal Surgical Neurology International, investigated the effects of surgery where an artery was decompressed that presses on part of the brain called the medulla oblongata.

The scientists were researching microvascular decompression, a technique used for debilitating cranial nerve diseases, including vertigo and spasmodic torticollis, in which they repositioned the compressive artery and inserted a protective pad between it and the nerve.

The medulla oblongata is a crucial part of the brain, as it helps the pancreas to function, which itself is responsible for the production of insulin . Type 2 diabetes, of course, is characterised by a resistance to insulin.

The study found that a group of patients had both type 2 diabetes and cranial nerve disease . When they received surgery to relieve arterial compression in the medulla oblongata, researchers found that surgery could mitigate the disease in some of the patients with type 2 diabetes .

The patients in the study who underwent microvascular decompression were examined over the following year, when they were not allowed to changes their diet, weight or activity. Seventy per cent showed significant improvement in their glucose control. A much larger study will now take place to corroborate the findings.
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