I Am A Medical Professional ?


Bariatric surgery programme to tackle Ireland’s obesity rate

Consultant Surgeon at The Mater Private Hospital, Mr. John Conneely criticised weight loss surgery services in Ireland, calling them “underdeveloped”. “Ireland’s obesity rate is alarmingly high and obesity is one of the biggest public health challenges facing Ireland today. Many of the patients we will see have been dieting for most of their lives without success and are at a stage where weight loss surgery is considered the best option for them,” he pointed out.

The Mater Private Hospital has announced the launch of a new weight loss surgery programme; the Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass and Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy, which will allow patients to recover quickly and be discharged from hospital within two to five days. Within 12 to 18 months following the procedure, most people who follow recommended dietary and lifestyle changes lose between 50 and 60 per cent of their excess body weight.

The new service at The Mater Private Hospital is available to adults who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 45 or more, or who have a BMI between 40 and 45 with other significant diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia or sleep apnoea.Weight loss surgery has been shown to prevent, cure or improve a number of serious health conditions and diseases, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, infertility, heart disease, asthma, sleep apnoea, as well as certain types of cancers.


Newborn baby girls found to possess genetic advantage

 Newborn infant girls have better outcomes than their male counterparts because of an innate genetic advantage in responding to acute infections, according to new research from RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland), published in the current edition of Pediatric Research. Females have a recognised survival advantage throughout the entire human lifecycle and this is especially evident during the newborn period, newborn males have higher rates of infection and sepsis compared with baby girls of the same gestational age.

The reason for this can be located in our chromosomes; the X chromosome contains more of the genes involved in immunity than can be found in the Y chromosome. Females can have a higher expression of these immune genes than males, giving them an advantage in dealing with acute infections which could also be implicated in gender differences in certain diseases. The research measured the presence of a factor called IRAK1 (interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase 1), which contributes to immunity against infection, in the umbilical cord blood of newborn babies. It was found that higher IRAK1 gene and protein expression was in the female cord blood, leading the authors to believe this to be behind the differences in inflammatory outcomes in infants.

The senior author of the research paper, Professor Catherine Greene, Associate Professor of Clinical Microbiology at RCSI stated: “The phenomenon of female neonates being hardier than their male counterparts is well recognised.  This research shows this is due to a fundamental genetic advantage which may also contribute to more effective responses to infection and disease throughout the human lifecycle.”