Changes in Cognitive Function Following Bariatric Surgery: a Systematic Review

Obes Surg. 2016 Oct;26(10):2530-7. doi: 10.1007/s11695-016-2312-z.


Increased body mass is directly associated with reduced cognitive function. The aim of this study was to systematically review the effect of bariatric weight loss surgery on cognitive function. A comprehensive and unrestricted literature search was conducted using the following databases: MEDLINE, EMBASE, PubMed, Scopus, Web of Sciences, and the Cochrane Library. A total of 414 publications were identified, of which 18 were included in the final review. Cognitive function as measured by a number of different assessment tools was shown to improve following surgically induced weight loss in most studies. Significant and rapid weight loss resulting from bariatric surgery is associated with prompt and sustained improvements in cognitive function including memory, executive function, and cognitive control.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s; Alzheimer’s disease; Bariatric surgery; Cognition; Cognitive function; Dementia; Gastric band; Gastric bypass; Gastric surgery; Memory; Roux-en-Y; Sleeve gastrectomy and weight loss surgery; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Bariatric Surgery / psychology*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Cognition Disorders / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Obesity / surgery*
  • Weight Loss / physiology*