People have sharper minds after weight loss surgery

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A recent study highlighted in JAMA Network Open reveals that people who undergo bariatric surgery, a type of surgery to help lose weight, can experience significant improvements in their brain function two years after the operation.

Conducted by Emma Custers and her team at Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen, Netherlands, the research focused on understanding how losing a substantial amount of weight through surgery impacts mental abilities and the brain’s structure.

The study involved 133 participants between the ages of 35 and 55, all of whom were severely obese and had chosen to undergo Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, a common form of bariatric surgery.

Two years after their surgeries, a notable improvement in overall brain function was observed in nearly 43% of the participants.

This improvement came alongside several health benefits: reduced inflammation in the body (as shown by lower levels of a marker called high-sensitivity C-reactive protein), decreased need for blood pressure medication, fewer symptoms of depression, and an increase in physical activity.

Interestingly, the researchers also examined changes in the brain’s structure and blood flow.

After the surgery, most areas of the brain showed reduced structure and blood flow, but there were no changes in the volume of the hippocampus (an area of the brain important for memory) and white matter.

However, the temporal cortex, part of the brain associated with processing sensory input and memory, became thicker, and showed improved blood flow patterns, indicating better health and function in this region.

This study shines a light on the potential mental health benefits of weight loss surgery, in addition to the well-known physical health benefits.

It suggests that losing weight through surgery can lead to a sharper mind, reduced depression, and better overall mental health.

However, the researchers also note that the exact reasons why these cognitive improvements occur are still not fully understood, inviting further exploration into the complex relationship between weight loss, brain structure, and mental function.

If you care about weight loss, please read studies that avocado could help you lose weight and belly fat, and a keto diet for weight loss can cause flu-like symptoms.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about unhealthy plant-based diets linked to metabolic syndrome, and these antioxidants could help reduce dementia risk.

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