DOCTORS at a British hospital are the first in the world to fit a teenager with an implant which could help to tackle the growing childhood type 2 diabetes and obesity crisis.
Diabetic Victoria Parr, 17, from Lymington, Hants, was fitted with the EndoBarrier: a non-surgical device placed in the upper intestine via the mouth which reduces the need for medication to treat the condition and aids weightloss.
Type 2 diabetes, which affects more than 2.5 million people in the UK, can run in families, but is also associated with an inactive lifestyle, being overweight and poor diet, and is increasingly common among children and young adults.
The condition develops when a person becomes resistant to insulin - a hormone released by the pancreas to drive glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream into muscles and organs to fuel the body.
It increases the risk of heart and kidney failure in the long term, and can lead to stroke, blindness and nerve damage.
The EndoBarrier is a small plastic sleeve which stays in the body for up to 12 months and acts as a barrier to prevent food being absorbed and ensures it bypasses a section of the upper intestine, allowing less time for digestion and improving the resistance to insulin.
Victoria, a beauty therapy student, had the device fitted on the national health service by a team led by Dr Nikki Davis, a consultant paediatric endocrinologist, and James Byrne, a consultant surgeon, at Southampton General Hospital in what the experts said was a world first.
"This is potentially a major addition to the treatments currently available for severe type 2 diabetes and obesity in teenagers, and could help to address the progression of the condition and the early development of complications in an increasing number of cases among children and adolescents," Dr Davis said.
"Victoria's is a particularly severe case in that she was unable to tolerate a number of different medications for type 2 diabetes and has rapidly progressive diabetes despite trying very hard with diet and exercise.
"This meant she had to rely on insulin injections to control her diabetes, which we know can prevent weightloss.
"The EndoBarrier is easy and quick to insert and is a reversible procedure with a low risk of complications.
"It is still vital that young people on weight-reduction programs receive full support from the weight management team before, during and after weightloss procedures in order to ensure long-term success."
The procedure was trialled on adult patients last year.
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