Dr. Gary Small, M.D., is a professor of psychiatry and aging and director of the UCLA Longevity Center at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. Dr. Small, one the nations top brain health experts, frequently appears on The Today Show, Good Morning America, and The Dr. Oz Show. He is co-author with his wife Gigi Vorgan of many popular books, including The New York Times best-seller, The Memory Bible, and The Alzheimer’s Prevention Program. He is author of The Mind Health Report newsletter.

Dr. Gary Small, M.D.

Does Weight Loss Cure Forgetfulness?

Wednesday, 06 Nov 2013 09:20 AM

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I am 55 years old, 5-foot-8, and weigh 210 pounds. My doctor recommended a 12-week weight-loss program to prevent diabetes. I lost 10 pounds and feel like my short-term memory has improved. Did losing weight cure my forgetfulness?
--Jim S., St. Louis, Mo.

It’s possible that your recent weight loss not only lowered your risk for diabetes but also improved your memory ability. Recently, investigators in Adelaide, Australia, studied 150 obese research volunteers who underwent weight-loss surgery. Twelve weeks after the procedure, the study participants performed significantly
better on tests measuring their memory, concentration, and problem-solving abilities
Numerous clinical trials have shown that a 12-week program known as the Diabetes Prevention Program is effective in helping people lose weight and stave off diabetes. The program includes weekly meeting with a coach who helps participants set realistic goals, tracks food intake, and requires about 20 minutes of daily exercise. 
In addition to the short-term memory benefits you may be experiencing from your weight-loss program, if you keep your extra weight off and avoid diabetes, you may also enjoy long-term brain health benefits since people who develop diabetes are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. 
Losing 10 pounds in 12 weeks may not be dramatic but it is certainly commendable, and the most effective way to keep your mind and body healthy is to set realistic goals.  

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