Workshop on metabolic surgery for diabetes held


Singapore, Feb 07, 2012: Leading international experts in type 2 diabetes gathered in Singapore on Feb. 6 and 7, 2012 to address specific challenges and opportunities of bariatric surgery for Asian patients and health care systems.

The Asia-Pacific Workshop on Metabolic Surgery for Diabetes is part of a global educational program developed by the Diabetes Surgery Center of New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center and presented jointly with A*STAR Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences and the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute of Melbourne, Australia. The event is organized with the partnership of the Qatar Foundation.

A recent position statement by the International Diabetes Federation recognizes surgery as an appropriate treatment for obese persons with type 2 diabetes not achieving recommended targets with available medical therapies, especially when there are other major co-morbidities such as hypertension and dyslipidemia.

The statement stressed that surgery should not be seen as a last resort and should be considered earlier in the management of this disease. “Bariatric surgery was originally conceived

as a therapy for weight reduction; what we have learned is that it may be best used to target diabetes and metabolic illness, and not just weight,” says Dr. Francesco Rubino, Chief of gastrointestinal metabolic surgery and director of the Metabolic and Diabetes Surgery Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center and associate professor of surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College.

Bariatric/metabolic surgery has been shown to dramatically improve diabetes and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and death. In spite of the potential gains, however, access to surgery for those eligible is very limited and barriers are substantial. Less than 2 percent of eligible patients have access to bariatric/metabolic surgery in the U.S., and the figure is even lower in the rest of the world.

So far, bariatric surgery has been even less popular in Asia than elsewhere, given the lower incidence of severe obesity in the region.  “Asian populations have an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease at lower BMI levels compared with subjects of European descent, due to more abdominal fat,” says Paul Zimmet from Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute. He also serves as a co-director of the workshop. “However diabetes is now rising epidemically in India, China, Japan and other countries. More than one third of type 2 diabetes in the world is now in the Asia region,” noted Zimmet.

The Singapore meeting is expected to raise awareness about diabetes surgery in Asia and craft an agenda for health care policies to improve access to surgery for eligible patients with diabetes.

This workshop aims at providing a platform from which to promote a scientifically sound, safe and orderly development of this emerging field.  “We are delighted that we have been invited to co-organize and host this inaugural workshop in Asia. Currently, SICS has research collaborations with hospitals in this field, but diabetes surgery is still nascent in Asia. This workshop is a critical step towards developing the emerging field of diabetes surgery quickly and safely in the region. It reflects the integrated effort that scientists and clinicians are taking to develop future innovative solutions for diabetes care and research,” says Judith Swain, executive director of A*STAR’s Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences.

The workshop will host an important consensus development session for the establishment of criteria to recognize Centers of Excellence for Diabetes Surgery in Asia, an initiative of the Asian Pacific Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Society (APMBSS), one of many diabetes and surgical organizations that have endorsed the Singapore meeting.

The Asia-Pacific Workshop is another in a series of international meetings that have been presented by Dr. Rubino and his colleagues in an effort to provide an evidence-based approach to metabolic surgery as a treatment for type 2 diabetes.

The Diabetes Surgery Center at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell is committed to promoting a scientifically sound development of diabetes surgery in the United States and worldwide through a global educational program that includes several high-profile scientific gatherings aimed at raising awareness of diabetes surgery and fostering regional collaborations between endocrinologists, surgeons, scientists and policy makers. The educational program of the Diabetes Surgery Center is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Covidien.

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