On the 18th of August, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) approved an investment of $9 million dollars into novel obesity research. PCORI is an independent nonprofit organization that strives to improve comparative clinical research. The aim of these newly-funded studies is to provide more information about obesity’s treatments and prevention. This fund will be used to conduct two distinct research projects that aim to provide more concrete data on obesity treatments and childhood obesity’s triggers to health specialists and families, allowing families and doctors to make more informed decisions on how to address the obesity epidemic.
The new studies will include an analysis of around 60,000 patients’ medical information, stored in the individual PCORnet health data networks. With the launch of these projects, PCORI hopes to challenge conventional research by executing the analysis more quickly while managing a higher volume of information and ensuring patients’ privacy.
In the first study, three of the most popular procedures for weight loss surgery will be compared, namely gastric bypass, adjustable gastric banding and sleeve gastrectomy. This comparison will be made by analyzing weight loss and regain rates, diabetes improvement rates, relapse rates and complication frequency in a total of 60,000 patients. The population of this study will include not only adults, but adolescents as well. Moreover, information from 17,000 diabetics’ medical records will also be included in the study.
The second project will explore the connection between the antibiotics given to children during their first two years of life and children’s risk of becoming obese in their later childhood, as suggested by recent research. The records of frequent antibiotic intake of 60,000 children in their early years will be analyzed and children’s weight will be compared at ages 5 and 10. To complete this study, the research team will also look at other variables that can affect increased weight in children. It is expected that the results of this study will help parents and health care specialists make better decisions when writing children’s prescriptions as well as dealing with childhood obesity.
The obesity related research is the second project that PCORnet is launching to conduct patient-centered health research, and so far has invested $260 million to develop PCORnet and launch new projects using this resource.