According to a new study, weight loss not only provides numerous health benefits, it may also help sharpen your memory. The study which was conducted at Kent State University was just released and the results were published in the journal Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases.
The study analyzed the memory and attention of a group of 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. After the first assessment, several subjects underwent gastric bypass surgery for weight loss, while others did not. After 12 weeks, the participants were tested again for mental skills.
Before the gastric bypass surgery, 23.9% of all the participants had impaired learning and 22.9% had poor recognition memory. But 12 weeks after surgery and with an average weight loss of approximately 50 pounds, tests showed performance increased for those who underwent the procedure. They tested within or above average range. No improvements were seen for those who did not have gastric bypass surgery.
The lead author of the study, John Gunstad reported the results of the research indicate that weight loss may improve concentration and overall cognitive ability. “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 stated. “If excess weight causes these problems, can losing weight help reverse them?”
Gunstad said the results of the study raise even more questions regarding the link between obesity and brain damage that need to be investigated. “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.”