In search of a treatment for hypoglycaemia after gastric bypass surgery
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‘We feel sure that the outcome will be a more effective treatment and improved quality of life for patients who have had a gastric bypass’, says Carolina Brito Lobato, who has now had her PhD funded by the DDA.
Gastric bypass operations have changed the lives of thousands of severely overweight people: they eliminate both diabetes and its complications in 3 out of 4 people, as DDA-funded research by Lene Ring Madsen MD PhD established a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, a minority of those who have the operation experience problems afterwards, and one late side effect is postbaryatric reactive hypoglycaemia (PBH).
The Danish Diabetes Academy has now sponsored new research in this specialized field, funding a PhD project for Doctor Carolina Brito Lobato.
She is Portuguese, but she is taking her PhD at the University of Copenhagen, because here she can have two Danish supervisors who are in the world élite in this field: Professor Jens Juul Holst of the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Biomedical Sciences and the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, and Professor and Consultant Steen Madsberg of Hvidovre University Hospital.
Jens Juul Holst has already collaborated with the young researcher for several years – she has worked in Copenhagen during her summer holidays since 2017 – and, in his recommendation to the Academy, he describes her as ‘one of the most talented of her generation’. His expectations are high, and among other things he also writes: ‘we foresee our results not only improving patient treatment, but also laying the ground for the development of new glucose-lowering drugs’.
Research against a gloomy background
The research is being conducted against a gloomy background: obesity and diabetes are a huge and growing worldwide public health problem, and the incidence of both conditions has risen sharply in recent years. ‘Obesity and overweight are expected to lead to a 2.7-year reduction in average longevity within the next 30 years’, says Carolina Brito Lobato.
Obesity surgery is one of the most effective and at the same time safest medical treatments for morbid obesity. Gastric bypass is one of the most frequently used methods worldwide, and it has proven both to reduce the risk of developing complications and the risk of dying from them.
Investigating why hypoglycaemia occurs
Specifically, Carolina Brito Lobato is setting out to study PBH in patients after a gastric bypass to gain a better understanding of why hypoglycaemia occurs, thus contributing to knowledge that may secure an effective treatment.
‘The research will be conducted in close collaboration with university hospitals and will combine basic, translational and clinical research. We feel confident that the outcome will be a more effective treatment and improved quality of life for patients who have had a gastric bypass’, says Carolina Brito Lobato.
Name and title: Carolina Brito Lobato MD, b. 1996
Awarded DKK 1.1 million by the Danish Diabetes Academy.
Project title: HypoBar: Unravelling post-bariatric hypoglycaemia towards improving healthcare and inspiring new glucose lowering therapies.
Research centres: Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Copenhagen and Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research.
Principal supervisor: Professor Jens Juul Holst
Danish Diabetes Academy
Tore Christiansen, Managing Director
Tel: +45 2964 6764