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April 19, 2011

Study: 'Weight Loss May Improve Your Memory'

Topics: Health Issues

memory.jpgNew research from Kent State University recently published in the journal Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases indicates that losing weight not only provides a variety of health benefits, but may also help sharpen your memory.

Drucilla Dyess writes at HealthNews.com:

[...] John Gunstad, an Assistant Professor of psychology and lead author of the study, reported that results of the research indicate that weight loss may improve concentration and overall cognitive ability. He pointed out, "We've known for a long time that obesity is a risk factor for things like Alzheimer's disease and stroke, and more recent work really shows that obesity is a link to memory problems and concentration problems before that even begins." Gunstad then explained that his research team set out to answer the question, "If excess weight causes these problems, can losing weight help reverse them?"

For their study, the researchers analyzed the memory and attention of a group of 150 obese people having an average weight of 300 pounds. At the beginning of the study, each member of the group was given mental skills testing for assessment of baseline abilities of recall and attention. Following the assesment, a number of the study subjects underwent gastric bypass surgery for weight loss, while others did not. After a period of 12 weeks, mental skills testing was once again performed on each participant.

[...] Gunstad acknowledged that the study results raise even more questions regarding the link between obesity and brain damage that need to be investigated. He stated, "If we're able to identify what causes these memory problems in the first place and then changes after surgery to make the memory better, that's the key. Once we can find that, that might be an answer to better understanding how obesity's linked to Alzheimer's disease, stroke or even just memory decline that happens in older adults."

As Dyess goes on to point out, participants that underwent the bypass surgery improved to within or above normal range while those that did not have the bypass surgery experienced gradual memory decline. As a follow-up to these findings, the researchers plan to study people who lose weight by eating healthier and getting more active in order to see if behavioral weight loss produces the same changes in memory.

Odds are pretty good that the Gunstad and his fellow researchers will find similar results in their follow-up study on behavioral weight loss and memory, especially given that back in 2009 a group of German researchers reported a 30 percent reduction in caloric intake among overweight seniors significantly improved memory and thinking skills.

Image credit - Elements4Health

Posted by Richard at April 19, 2011 8:11 AM



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