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Can Bariatric Surgery Improve Cognitive Function?

March 26, 2015 | Uncategorized


The physical health benefits of bariatric surgery have been well established. Studies show that weight loss surgery can lower blood pressure, improve or resolve type 2 diabetes and reduce the risk of life-threatening events like heart attacks, strokes and organ failure.

Recent research shared at Obesity Week focused on the possible neurocognitive health benefits of bariatric surgery, and found a link between bariatric surgery and improved cognitive function.

Here, the Texas Laparoscopic Consultants team delves deeper into the study’s findings and explains what it could mean for you.

Cognitive Testing Scores Improve after Bariatric Surgery

A team from Stanford University School of Medicine studied a group of 47 bariatric surgery patients. The participants were given a group of cognitive tests before surgery, and again at three, six and 12 months after surgery. These tests included the revised Hopkins Verbal Learning Test (HVLT), verbal line learning, Digit Symbol Substitution test and a memory test.

Pre-op, the patients showed slower mean response times and poorer memory recall than the national norms. However, post-operatively, their scores improved across all categories, and the patients demonstrated better memory and attention.

As expected, the patients lost approximately 70 percent of their excess weight in a year. They also saw improvement in glycemic control, metabolic syndrome, depression and daytime sleepiness — factors that can independently improve cognitive function.

The study’s lead author, Dr. John Morton, explained that his team believes diabetes is the single biggest factor affecting cognitive testing scores.

“The brain is a big consumer of glucose for its size,” he said. “It consumes a lot more glucose than your heart or your muscles.” It really needs it, and when there are derangements in the glucose metabolism, some of the brain chemistry doesn’t work as well. The actual synaptic firings across neurons are impeded.”

Learn More about the Benefits of Bariatric Surgery

Improved cognition is just one of the reasons Texas Laparoscopic Consultants advocates bariatric surgery for severely obese individuals. We have seen thousands of patients live healthier, happier and more active lives after bariatric surgery.

For more information about all of the benefits of bariatric surgery, please contact the TLC team today.

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