Brain 'rejuvenates' after bariatric surgery, study finds
Bariatric surgery can transform the lives of people with severe obesity.
Significant weight loss following bariatric surgery is accompanied by impressive brain rejuvenation, Quebec researchers have found.
Two years after undergoing this intervention, the brain of the patients had thus rejuvenated by more than five years.
This really suggests an improvement in brain health after bariatric surgery, summarized the leader of this study, Andréanne Michaud, who is a professor at the School of Nutrition at Laval University and researcher at the Research Center from the University Institute of Cardiology and Pulmonology of Quebec-Laval University.
Researchers first used cerebral magnetic resonance imaging to document, using some 600 healthy subjects, the changes that normally occur in the density of gray matter in the brain as we age.
This model was then applied to a cohort of about 30 obese patients to assess how different their neuroanatomy is from the healthy population, said Michaud.
It has been seen that there is an increase in brain age with severe obesity, she clarified.
The images were taken 2 months before the intervention, as well as 4, 12 and 24 months after. A year after the operation, the patients' brains had rejuvenated by about three years. After two years, he was 5.6 years younger.
The improvement in brain age that occurs after bariatric surgery appears to be associated with the weight that has been lost. The greater the reduction in body weight, the more the body mass index fell, the more blood pressure and insulin resistance improved, the more pronounced the rejuvenation.
< p class="e-p">So it still seems to be associated with weight loss, but also with improved cardiometabolic health, Michaud said. It is sure that we cannot exclude that it is because the person has made changes in his lifestyle, in his eating habits, but we could not evaluate it in the context of our study.
Just as obesity is a multifactorial disease, it's a safe bet that multiple mechanisms also underlie this brain rejuvenation, she said: a reduction in inflammation that accompanies the x27;obesity, improved vascularization of the brain, or changes to gastrointestinal hormones or microbiota are all intriguing leads.
Science already knew that bariatric surgery can improve cardiometabolic health, but this new study confirms that it can also improve brain health, Michaud said.
The researcher and her team of researchers from Laval, McGill and Montreal universities continue to follow these patients to determine if the gains observed are maintained and if they translate into an improvement in tests measuring cognitive abilities.
The conclusions of this study are pu published in the October issue of the scientific journal NeuroImage.
A text by Jean-Benoit Legault