Weight-loss surgery, depression and heartburn

June 2, 2009 5:03:05 PM PDT
There is a new technique for weight loss surgery without incisions. It's a medical trifecta.

A lot of people take heartburn medications for acid reflux disease. There are drugs like Prevasid, Prilosec or Zantac.

The medications are necessary for millions of people, but a new study confirms that they do put patients at higher risk for fractures of the hip.

The risk appeared two years after patients started on the medications, not five, as previous studies have shown.

Researchers say patients should continue taking the acid blockers, but at the lowest effective dose. People at risk for osteoporosis should talk to their doctor about other treatments.

Preventing depression in teenagers was the subject of another study, this one in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Once a teen experiences depression, he or she is at risk of another episode.

Some 300 at-risk teens were enrolled in the study. Half of them got usual care, while the others were put in a preventive therapy group getting weekly, then monthly, therapy.

Those in the preventive group had an 11 percent lower incidence of depression than those who were in usual care. However, teens with depressed parents did not do as well.

Parental depression seemed to moderate whether or not the group was going to have an effect on them, and that was a pretty big difference," said Dr. Judy Garger, of Vanderbilt University.

Finally, many people with obesity problems have turned to weight-loss surgery as a solution.

Now, there is word of an ongoing study for a weight-loss technique that involves no incisions.

Doctors at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles say the procedure involves going through the mouth and using a vacuum device to apply staples to the stomach wall to reduce it in size.

European studies have concluded patients don't lose as much weight as they do with with gastric bypass, but because there are no incisions, it has other advantages.

The procedure is called VRG, or vertical banded gastroplasty.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King


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