Can weight loss boost memory?

In the past few days you may have come across head­lines claim­ing that weight loss can improve mem­o­ry. If so, you may be won­der­ing what to make of this.

Let’s take a brief look at the study at the ori­gin of these arti­cles. Par­tic­i­pants were 109 bariatric surgery patients and 41 obese peo­ple (con­trols) who had not under­gone surgery. Bariatric surgery refers most­ly to gas­tric bypass surgery, which cre­ates a small­er stom­ach and bypass­es part of the small intes­tine. The bariatric patients were enrolled in the Lon­gi­tu­di­nal Assess­ment of Bariatric Surgery project con­duct­ed, among oth­ers, by researchers at Kent State uni­ver­si­ty and Colum­bia University.

The mem­o­ry of the 150 par­tic­i­pants was assessed before the surgery as well as 12 weeks after. Results showed that the mem­o­ry of the surgery patients had improved where­as the mem­o­ry of the obese con­trols had declined.

Com­ments: Obe­si­ty is among the risk fac­tors for Alzheimer’s dis­ease. It is also becom­ing appar­ent that being obese tend to be linked to mem­o­ry prob­lems in gen­er­al. So it seems to make sense that los­ing weight should reverse this ten­den­cy. How­ev­er the mech­a­nisms by which this may hap­pen are large­ly unknown: What caus­es the mem­o­ry prob­lems to start with is a mys­tery. Giv­en that both a bal­anced diet and reg­u­lar phys­i­cal exer­cise are key to brain health, there are prob­a­bly more than one vari­able at work here.

In sum, more research is need to under­stand what links obe­si­ty to mem­o­ry prob­lems. It is not known either whether los­ing weight with­out under­go­ing surgery would have sim­i­lar pos­i­tive effects on memory.

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About SharpBrains

SHARPBRAINS is an independent think-tank and consulting firm providing services at the frontier of applied neuroscience, health, leadership and innovation.
SHARPBRAINS es un think-tank y consultoría independiente proporcionando servicios para la neurociencia aplicada, salud, liderazgo e innovación.

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