Weight Loss in Obese Tied to Low-Order Cognitive Upturn

Study heterogeneity, but low-order effect seen on executive/attention function, memory

FRIDAY, Oct. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Weight loss in obese individuals is associated with low-order significant improvements in executive/attention functioning and memory, according to a meta-analysis published in the November issue of Obesity Reviews.

Mario Siervo, M.D., from the University of Naples in Italy, and colleagues reviewed available literature to investigate the effectiveness of intentional weight loss on cognitive function in overweight and obese adults. A total of 12 studies met the inclusion criteria, including seven randomized trials and five which included a control group. Data were extracted on study design, age, nutritional status, weight-loss strategy, weight lost, and cognitive testing.

The investigators found that weight loss was associated with a low-order significant effect on improvement in cognitive performance in memory and attention/executive functioning (effect size, 0.13 and 0.14, respectively). Studies exhibited heterogeneity in design, sample selection, weight-loss interventions, and evaluation of cognitive function.

"Studies were characterized by large heterogeneity in sample size, dietary intervention, follow-up interval, cognitive assessment protocol, and sample characteristics. Despite these differences, more than 70 percent (9/12) of studies reported an improvement in some area of cognitive function," the authors write.

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