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Gastric bypass partnership

US-Ireland researchers agree gastric bypass partnership

Study will bring together world-leading nutrition and neuroscientist researchers from Ulster University, Florida State University and University College Dublin.

A US-Ireland partnership has been awarded over £2 million to investigate the effectiveness of gastric bypass surgery. The research will specifically aim to identify if long-term weight loss from gastric bypass is due solely to changes in appetite and food choices, or if it is also associated with changes in metabolic rate following surgery. The grant has been awarded under the US-Ireland Research and Development Partnership Programme. It will bring together world-leading nutrition and neuroscientist researchers from Ulster University, Florida State University and University College Dublin.

The US-Ireland Research and Development Funding Programme is a unique arrangement. It involves funding agencies in the USA, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland which combine resources to enable the best researchers from Ireland and the USA to work together on research to address critical issues and generate valuable discoveries that will impact on patient care.

"Our research will not just examine the effectiveness of gastric bypass, or bariatric surgery, it will also examine behavioural changes in patients which may contribute to the long term success of the procedure,” said Professor Barbara Livingstone, Ulster University, one of the scientists leading the research. "Obesity levels are increasing globally and the associated medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancers are placing strain on already-challenged healthcare resources. It is vital that we fully investigate not just the effectiveness of treatments but also any associated factors such as patient's attitudes and behaviours towards food, which may assist in helping everyone to make healthier food and lifestyle choices.

Bariatric surgery is only currently available on the NHS in England, Wales and Scotland, so the highly innovative project will monitor local bariatric surgery patients treated by an independent healthcare company, Phoenix Irish Health.

"We are delighted to be funding this project which will examine the effectiveness of surgical procedures in the fight against obesity,” said Dr Janice Bailie, Assistant Director of the Public Health Agency's HSC R&D Division, which is funding the Northern Ireland part of this project with support from the Medical Research Council. “We expect that the outcomes from this international research will lead to significant advances in the treatment of obese patients in the UK, Ireland and beyond."

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