ASMBS Foundation awards research grants for studies related to COVID-19 & obesity



Credit: ASMBS Foundation

Newberry, FL – July19, 2021– The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery
(ASMBS) Foundation today announced it has awarded two research grants totaling $50,000 to
study the effects of obesity on COVID-19 infections in adolescents and the increasing use of
adult cannabis during and after the pandemic and its potential impact on weight loss outcomes
following bariatric surgery.

“These latest grants are for studies on the impact of COVID-19 and emerging areas of interest
that have thus far received little scientific study,” said Paul Enochs, MD, President, ASMBS
Foundation. “Our support for them reflects our enduring commitment, and that of our donors,
to help fuel innovative research that advances the scientific understanding of the disease of
obesity and its treatment.”

The ASMBS Foundation has been sponsoring important research on obesity and bariatric
surgery since 2004. Previous grant recipients have studied the short-term impact of bariatric
surgery on systemic inflammation in asthma patients, the effect of sleeve gastrectomy on
obesity-induced heart failure, and the determinants of Type 2 diabetes remission after bariatric
surgery. This year’s recipients will each receive $25,000 for their studies.

“I am so honored to have been chosen for this year’s ASMBS Foundation research grant. It will
support a study that will help both providers and patients better understand the influence of
cannabis use after bariatric surgery and whether it impacts eating behaviors and long-term
weight loss outcomes,” said Lisa R. Matero, Ph.D., ABPP, Director, Health Psychology Fellowship
Program at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

“Pediatric and adolescent populations with obesity are at high risk for severe COVID-19
infection and novel therapeutic interventions are lacking. This study aims to reveal the
molecular and cellular underpinnings that influence increased viral susceptibility in these
individuals to aid in the future development of effective therapies,” said Christine Finck, MD,
Chief, Division of Pediatric General and Thoracic Surgery at Connecticut Children’s Hospital in
Hartford. “The grant for this study will help us accomplish our long-term goal of improving the
overall quality of life for pediatric patients with obesity.”

Metabolic/bariatric surgery has been shown to be the most effective and long-lasting treatment
for severe obesity, resulting in significant weight loss and resolution or improvements in
diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea, and many other obesity-related diseases. Its safety profile
is comparable to some of the safest and most commonly performed surgeries in the U.S.
including gallbladder surgery, appendectomy, and knee replacement. An estimated 256,000
bariatric surgeries were performed in 2019, according to the ASMBS, which represents less than
1% of the currently eligible surgical population-based on body mass index (BMI).

The CDC reports 42.4% of adults in the U.S. had obesity in 2017-2018. Another 9.2% had
severe obesity. Obesity is linked to more than 40 diseases including type 2 diabetes,
hypertension, heart disease, stroke, sleep apnea, and at least 13 different types of cancer.


About ASMBS Foundation

The mission of the ASMBS Foundation is to raise funds for conducting research and education,
increasing public and scientific awareness and understanding, and improving access to quality
care and treatment of obesity and severe obesity. The ASMBS Foundation shares the vision of
the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) to improve public health
and well-being by lessening the burden of the disease of obesity and related diseases
throughout the world. For more information, visit

Media Contact
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