Neurodegenerative disease and obesity: what is the role of weight loss and bariatric interventions?

Metab Brain Dis. 2013 Sep;28(3):341-53. doi: 10.1007/s11011-013-9412-4. Epub 2013 May 8.


Neurodegenerative diseases are amongst the leading causes of worldwide disability, morbidity and decreased quality of life. They are increasingly associated with the concomitant worldwide epidemic of obesity. Although the prevalence of both AD and PD continue to rise, the available treatment strategies to combat these conditions remain ineffective against an increase in global neurodegenerative risk factors. There is now epidemiological and mechanistic evidence associating obesity and its related disorders of impaired glucose homeostasis, type 2 diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome with both AD and PD. Here we describe the clinical and molecular relationship between obesity and neurodegenerative disease. Secondly we outline the protective role of weight loss, metabolic and caloric modifying interventions in the context of AD and PD. We conclude that the application of caloric restriction through dietary changes, bariatric (metabolic) surgery and gut hormone therapy may offer novel therapeutic strategies against neurodegenerative disorders. Investigating the protective mechanisms of weight loss, metabolic and caloric modifying interventions can increase our understanding of these major public health diseases and their management.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / complications
  • Bariatric Surgery*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / surgery
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Syndrome / surgery
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / complications*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / pathology
  • Obesity / surgery
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Parkinson Disease / complications
  • Weight Loss / physiology*