Neurocognitive effects of obesity and bariatric surgery

Mary Beth Spitznagel, Misty Hawkins, Michael Alosco, Rachel Galioto, Sarah Garcia, Lindsay Miller, John Gunstad

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


This review paper will discuss the recent literature examining the relationship between obesity and neurocognitive outcomes, with a particular focus on cognitive changes after bariatric surgery. Obesity is now recognized as an independent risk factor for adverse neurocognitive outcomes, and severely obese persons appear to be at even greater risk. Bariatric surgery is associated with rapid improvements in cognitive function that persist for at least several years, although the mechanisms underlying these improvements are incompletely understood. Assessment of cognitive impairment in bariatric surgery patients is challenging, and improved methods are needed, as poorer performance on neuropsychological tests of memory and executive function leads to poorer clinical weight outcomes. In addition to its clinical importance, further study in this area will provide key insight into obesity-related cognitive dysfunction and clarify the possibility of an obesity paradox for neurological outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)488-495
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Eating Disorders Review
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • bariatric
  • BMI
  • cognition
  • obesity


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