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Prolonged starvation can be safe and effective dietary therapy for extremely obese patients—perhaps even for those with certain conditions including diabetes, osteoarthritis, and coronary arteriosclerosis, a US Air Force study of 25 patients suggests.
Unlike the restricted patientselection of most previous studies, clinicians at the George Air Force Base, Victorville, Calif, included in their investigation seven obese persons with hypertension, psoriasis, bronchiectasis and bronchitis, osteoarthritis, hypothyroidism, insulincontrolled diabetes and cholelithiasis, and healed duodenal ulcer. Another patient had a combination of coronary arteriosclerosis, hypertension, osteoarthritis, Paget's disease and Parkinson's disease.
A total of 25 patients, who, with the exception of four, were at least 100 lbs overweight, fasted for as long as 84 days. Their weights ranged from 177 to 360 lbs initially, and most had been unable to lose weight on previous diets.
"The only conditions contraindicating admission to the study were a history of gout, diabetes with ketosis, or
'Dramatic' Treatment For Obesity; Diseased Patients Test Starvation. JAMA. 1966;197(1):A21–A22. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110010017004
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