For nearly a decade, Cristina Iaboni tried to tame her diabetes through daily shots of insulin and other medicine. Her blood sugar stayed out of control. So Iaboni combed the Internet for another solution and found a doctor who is testing weight loss surgery on diabetics who, like her, are overweight or even a tad obese in an attempt to curb the chronic disease.
Scientists in recent years have discovered that diabetes all but disappears in some obese patients soon after gastric bypass or stomach stapling surgery. Some researchers think the rerouting of the digestive tract affects the gut hormones involved in blood sugar control.
But does the benefit extend to diabetics who are not quite as hefty? Iaboni's surgeon, Dr. Francesco Rubino, is one of a handful of doctors around the world stretching the rules to see whether the weight loss operation helps.
Iaboni had gastric bypass surgery last fall at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center as part of a study. In gastric bypass or stomach stapling surgery, the stomach is reduced to a thumb-sized pouch that holds less food.
Now 50 pounds lighter, she has stopped taking diabetes medications. Her blood sugar is almost normal.
"I didn't care if I lost any weight. I just wanted the diabetes to go away," said the 45-year-old Connecticut mother of two teenagers.
In the United States, one out of five people with obesity-linked Type 2 diabetes is morbidly obese - defined as 100 pounds overweight.
Surgery is generally a last resort after traditional ways to shed the pounds - such as diet and exercise - fail.
Presbyterian leaders approve gay clergy policy
Leaders of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), which has more than 2 million members, voted Thursday to allow non-celibate gays in committed relationships to serve as clergy, approving the first of two policy changes that could make their church one of the most gay-friendly major Christian denominations in the United States. Delegates voted during the church's general assembly in Minneapolis, with 53 percent approving the more liberal policy on gay clergy. A separate vote is expected on whether to change the church's definition of marriage from between "a man and a woman" to between "two people." The changes will then need to be approved by a majority of the church's 173 U.S. presbyteries. Last year, 94 of the presbyteries voted against a change in the policy. Under current church policy, Presbyterians are eligible to become clergy, deacons or elders only if they are married or celibate. The new policy would strike references to sexuality altogether in favor of candidates committed to "joyful submission to worship of Christ."
Solar power carries plane through night
An experimental airplane landed safely Thursday after flying through the night propelled entirely by 12,000 solar cells and sunlight-powered lithium batteries. The HB-SIA carbon-fiber aircraft, flown by Andre Borschberg and weighing about as much as a mid-size car, touched down at Payerne near Lake Neuchatel, Switzerland, at 9 a.m., the Solar Impulse group said. The 26-hour flight was part of the project's $95 million effort sponsored by Germany's Deutsche Bank. The seven-year project is led by the Swiss adventurer Bertrand Piccard and Borschberg, a 40-year flying veteran. The flight was "the most incredible one of my flying career, just sitting there and watching the battery charge level rise and rise thanks to the sun and then that suspense, not knowing whether we were going to manage to stay up in the air the whole night," Borschberg, 57, said.The next challenge: cross the Atlantic, then make an around-the-world flight in 2013.
Treasure hunter in England finds 52,500 Roman coins
A treasure hunter has found about 52,500 Roman coins, one of the largest such discoveries ever in Britain, officials said Thursday. The hoard, which was valued at $5 million, includes hundreds of coins bearing the image of Marcus Aurelius Carausius, who seized power in Britain and northern France in the late third century and proclaimed himself emperor. Dave Crisp, a treasure hunter using a metal detector, located the coins in April in a field in southwestern England, according to the Somerset County Council and the Portable Antiquities Scheme. The coins were buried in a large jar about a foot deep and weighed about 350 pounds in all. Crisp told the BBC that a "funny signal" from his metal detector prompted him to start digging.