Weight Loss May Sharpen your Memory
There are many benefits to maintaining an ideal weight. Add to those benefits is the recent finding that losing weight may actually help sharpen your memory.
A study conducted by Kent State University’s psychology professor John Gunstad and his team showed results that weight loss may be significant in giving your cognitive ability a boost. For a long time, we know that obesity is a significant player for developing Alzheimer’s disease. It has also been found to have direct links to memory and concentration problems. Gunstad’s study, which was published in the journal Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases, sought out to rule that losing weight can actually reverse such effects of obesity.
The Research DetailsFor the study, Gunstad and his team utilized 150 obese people with an average weight of 300 pounds. At the beginning of the study, the subjects were given mental tests for the assessment of recall and attention. Among the participants, 23.9 percent have exhibited impaired learning while 22.9 percent showed poor recognition memory.
After the assessment, a gastric bypass surgery for weight loss was performed to a number of the subjects, while the others remained the same. After twelve weeks, the participants were tested again for their cognitive skills. This time, those who opt for surgery are already 50 pounds lighter.
Gunstad’s option to include gastric bypass surgery in the equation is because of a belief that those who undergo surgery can lose a good amount of weight in a short period of time.
The Research FindingsAfter twelve weeks, the participants were subjected again to mental skills testing that would assess their recall and attention. The result was that, among those who underwent surgery, a favorable number showed an above average performance. In those who did not opt for surgery, no improvements were recorded. In fact, they were even seen with a gradual decline in memory after the 12-week period.
These findings clearly suggest that memory loss and concentration problems showed direct links to obesity even before the onset of Alzheimer’s. The only way to help solve the problem is to try and lose the excess weight.
Although Gunstad’s study raised more questions regarding the relationship between obesity and brain damage, this is a good baseline study that will help create a better understanding on obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, memory loss, and their connections with each other. As per their next project, Gunstad’s team will include weight loss by traditional means. The team is hopeful that this study will yield the same favorable results that the study on obese people after surgery showed.
Aside from maintaining an ideal weight, it will also help a lot if you include brain foods like strawberries, fish, and leafy greens to your diet, so as to help put off the gradual decline in memory that usually occurs alongside age.