Thursday, November 30, 2023
News, analysis and commentary by UBC Journalism students

Diabetes ‘cured’

I was disappointed to read an article in the Globe and Mail that used the word “cured” in the lead…

By Anna Fong , in Blogs Health and wellness , on January 24, 2008

I was disappointed to read an article in the Globe and Mail that used the word “cured” in the lead paragraph to describe a surgery, which will assist diabetic patients to lose weight.

This was repeated again in the second paragraph:

“Researchers found that 73 per cent of patients whose stomachs were shrunk with the simple surgical procedure were cured of Type 2 diabetes.”The study was about a comparison between patients who received bariatric surgery to those who altered their lifestyle habits to loose weight. The findings displayed a higher rate of remission in diabetics who got the surgery because they lost more weight.

What bothers me about this article is the use of the word “cure”. It implies the patients will never get the disease again. I think it is misleading and I prefer the word “remission” which was used in the headline and the remainder of the article.

I firmly believe lifestyle choices play an important role in health. You may be predisposed for weight gain because of a slow metabolism, which is genetically based. Yet, the ability for a patient to drastically loose weight using this surgery is worrisome because it fails to address how the person got Type 2 diabetes.

An obese person who is diagnosed with diabetes may find it hard to change their caloric intake and exercise levels. Fortunately, the article mentions that researchers want to conduct a long-term study to follow the patients and see if they stay in remission.

I believe they will find that many patients will be re-diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes if they do not make lifestyle changes and we will hear about another “cure” for diabetes in the soon future.