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Could intestinal bacteria be responsible, in part, for fat loss after weight-loss surgery? A recent study in Science Translational Medicine reports that may be the case.

However, says UW surgeon, Guilherme M Campos, MD, PhD, the study was done in mice, so the role that gut microbes play in humans’ weight loss is unknown. “Is it the main driver? Likely not, but it is still likely one of the components that assist gastric bypass patients to lose weight in the long run.”

Bacterial transplants might eventually help some people, but they won’t solve the global obesity epidemic, Dr. Campos says. A person’s social environment and exercise habits are far more complex than a mouse’s. “The factors that lead to morbid obesity in humans are completely different than what is seen in a laboratory setting,” he says. Patients who don’t change their lifestyles along with their gut microbes may regain lost weight, he says.

To read more about the study and hear from Dr. Campos, please click here.

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