(HealthDay News) – For certain patients, surgical weight loss is associated with increased telomere length, according to a study presented during ObesityWeek 2013, held from Nov. 11–16 in Atlanta. The event is hosted by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery and The Obesity Society.

John M. Morton, MD, from the Stanford University Medical Center in California, and colleagues examined the correlation between telomere length and surgical weight loss in 51 patients, using prospectively collected data.

The researchers found that the percent excess weight loss was 71% by 12 months postoperatively, and there were also decreases in high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (CRP) and fasting insulin. There was no significant change in telomere length in the entire cohort. On stratification by preoperative CRP and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels, there were significant changes in telomere lengths. There was significant telomere lengthening in patients with high vs. low LDL, and in those with high versus low CRP. In the high-CRP group, a significant positive correlation was observed for weight loss and telomere length. For high baseline CRP, there was a significant correlation for change in high-density lipoprotein with increase in telomere length.

“This unique study demonstrates that surgically induced weight loss is able to reverse a marker of aging, telomere length,” Morton said in a statement. “Past research has shown a tie between telomere length following weight loss through diet and exercise, but not through bariatric surgery.”

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