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Fat-Buster Bacteria Helps in Gastric Surgery, Researchers Find

Bacteria that live in the gut change after gastric-bypass surgery, and may aid in weight loss, according to a Harvard University study.

Researchers gave mice the stomach-shrinking surgery and monitored changes in the gut’s bacterial inhabitants, according to a study in the journal Science Translational Medicine. When bacteria from the mice that got surgery were transferred into mice with no gut germs, those mice also lost weight, about a fifth of what they would have lost with surgery.

Gastric surgery helps people lose weight by shrinking the size of the stomach, making it tougher to absorb calories. Now scientists think it may also adjust gastrointestinal bacteria, contributing to weight loss and raising the possibility for less-drastic obesity treatments, according to the authors.

“A major gap in our knowledge is the underlying mechanism linking microbes to weight loss,” said Peter Turnbaugh, a study author and systems biologist at Harvard, in a statement released by the university. “There were certain microbes that we found at higher abundance after surgery, so we think those are good targets for beginning to understand what’s taking place.”
 
 

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