A recent weight loss study of overweight patients who were going through bariatric surgery showed that the side effects of medication and medical procedures are beneficial.
Dr. John Gunstad along with this team of researchers came to the conclusion that bariatric surgery patients showed signs of improved memory function about 12 weeks after they had their operations.
For this particular weight loss research, researchers followed 150 participants (109 of them were bariatric surgery patients and the remaining 41 were obesity control subjects). In the beginning of this weight loss study most of the bariatric surgery patients exhibited impaired performance on cognitive testing.
But the researchers noticed that bariatric surgery patients demonstrated improved memory and concentration 12 weeks after their surgeries which was like a major improvement from the slightly impaired state to a normal state.
The lead researcher says that this is the first evidence to show that by going through this surgery, individuals might improve their memory, concentration and problem solving.
According to the researchers, the weight loss research shows that memory or concentration problems can be improved or even eliminated with weight loss reduction and this can happen in a short period of time.
The research team will be following the study participants for two years. They tested the patients before their weight loss surgery then 12 weeks after surgery and one year after surgery and will also test them at the two-year mark.
Gunstad said he wasn’t surprised by the weight loss study’s findings. “A lot of the factors that come with obesity – things such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea – that might damage the brain are somewhat reversible,” Gunstad said. “As those problems go away, memory function gets better.”
The next project for the research team will be to examine whether people who lose weight the old-fashioned way see the same effects as those who have had bariatric surgery.
Gunstad expressed that he expects to see similar results.
“One of the things we know is that as individuals become more cardiovascular fit and their heart health gets better, their brain health also improves,” Gunstad said. “Even if we take young adults and put them through an exercise program, their memory and their concentration get better by the end of the program.”