Fewer brain abnormalities seen after bariatric surgery in morbidly obese

Reuters Health Information: Fewer brain abnormalities seen after bariatric surgery in morbidly obese

Fewer brain abnormalities seen after bariatric surgery in morbidly obese

Last Updated: 2016-07-18

By David Douglas

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Following bariatric surgery, neuroimaging studies indicate a reduction in obesity-related brain structural abnormalities in morbidly obese patients, according to U.S. and Chinese researchers.

As Dr. Gene-Jack Wang told Reuters Health by email, "One month after laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, obese patients had partially recovered brain structural deficits in regions associated with food intake control and cognitive-emotion regulation."

In a paper online May 20 in the International Journal of Obesity, Dr. Wang of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues note that there have been extensive reports of such brain abnormalities in the obese.

However, although bariatric surgery is currently the most effective intervention to produce sustained weight reduction in such patients, it's unknown whether there is a concomitant reduction in brain circuitry abnormalities.

To investigate, the team used MRI to examine morbidly obese patients at baseline and one month after laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy. In all, 15 morbidly obese and 18 normal-weight controls were examined.

At baseline the obese group showed decreased fractional anisotropy (FA) and gray matter (GM) and white matter (WM) densities and increased mean diffusivity (MD) in brain regions associated with food-intake control, such as the orbitofrontal cortex. That was also the case in areas associated with cognitive-emotion regulation, including the inferior frontal gyrus.

One month after surgery, say the researchers, "Even though the disruption of brain structure was not fully normalized to the control status," they found significant differences in FA values in the left anterior corona radiata and other areas. There was also a significant increase in GM density in a number of structures following surgery.

Paired t-testing before and after surgery showed partial neuroplastic structural recovery "that might in part mediate the long-term benefit of bariatric surgery in weight reduction."

These findings and this line of gut-brain axis research, concluded Dr Wang, will "help us to understand the neurobiological mechanism of obesity and predict efficacy of the treatment."

SOURCE: http://bit.ly/2a32v0o

Int J Obesity 2016.

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