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15 April 2011

Weight loss improves memory, research shows

Here's another good reason to lose weight: It may improve your memory and concentration, new research suggests.
Scientists know that overweight and obese people are at a greater risk for memory problems and other cognitive disabilities, but the latest study is one of the first to indicate that substantial weight loss improves brain health.
John Gunstad, an associate professor of psychology at Kent State University, and a team of scientists from several research centers analyzed memory tests taken by 150 people who weighed an average of 300 pounds. Many had several health problems, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea.

Of that group, 109 of them then had bariatric surgery — mostly gastric bypass surgery, which creates a smaller stomach and bypasses part of the small intestine. The other 41 obese patients did not have surgery.
The improved memory for the surgery patients likely is not solely due to improved blood pressure, because only a small number went from being classified as having hypertension to no longer having it, Gunstad says.

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