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Surg Obes Relat Dis. 2013 May-Jun;9(3):453-9. doi: 10.1016/j.soard.2011.10.008. Epub 2011 Oct 29.

Cognitive function predicts weight loss after bariatric surgery.

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Kent State University, Kent, OH 44195 , USA.



Clinically significant cognitive impairment is found in a subset of patients undergoing bariatric surgery. These difficulties could contribute to a reduced adherence to postoperative lifestyle changes and decreased weight loss. The present study is the first to prospectively examine the independent contribution of cognitive function to weight loss after bariatric surgery. Executive function/attention and verbal memory at baseline were expected to negatively predict the percentage of excess weight loss (%EWL) and body mass index (BMI) at follow-up. Three sites of the Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery parent project were used: Columbia (New York, NY), Cornell (Princeton, NJ), and the Neuropsychiatric Research Institute (Fargo, ND).


A total of 84 individuals enrolled in the Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery project undergoing bariatric surgery completed a cognitive evaluation at baseline. The BMI and %EWL were calculated at the 12-week and 12-month postoperative follow-up visits.


Clinical impairment in task performance was most prominent in tasks associated with verbal recall and recognition (14.3-15.5% of the sample) and perseverative errors (15.5%). After accounting for demographic and medical variables, the baseline test results of attention/executive function and memory predicted the BMI and %EWL at 12 months but not at 12 weeks.


These results have demonstrated that baseline cognition predicts for greater %EWL and lower BMI 12 months after bariatric surgery. Additional work is needed to clarify the degree to which cognition contributes to adherence and the potential mediation of cognition on the relationship between adherence and weight loss in this group.

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