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UF receives grant to study effects of weight-loss surgery on brain, memory function

Published: July 8th, 2014

Category: News

GAINESVILLE, FL – University of Florida researchers received a $572,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the effects of weight loss surgery on brain function, thinking, and memory. The WISE (Weightloss Intervention Surgical Effects) Brain Study will employ the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to examine anatomical and functional measures involved in memory and aging to help understand the bases for age-related brain changes and age-related cognitive change in adults ages 45-65 with a BMI greater than 35.

During the five-year prospective study, approximately half of the patients will undergo bariatric surgery at UF Health Shands Hospital and other surgical centers in Gainesville, FL. Nearly 30% of all patients who underwent bariatric surgery at UF Health last year had diagnosed cases of type 2 diabetes (T2DM).

The study comes amid a decades-worth of research calling for Alzheimer’s disease – a memory disorder affecting one in seven people aged 65 — to be reclassified as “type 3 diabetes.” Emerging evidence suggests that the current epidemics of T2DM and late-onset Alzheimer’s disease are similarly brought on by events leading to overt insulin resistance. The study will measure blood sugar leves, and other proteins that may act as biomarkers for disease, with the potential to mitigate these in an effort to remediate cognitive performance.

Ronald Cohen, PhD, Director of the UF Cognitive Aging and Memory Clinical Translational Research Program (CAM-CTRP), is principal investigator for the study. Ten UF-COM interdisciplinary faculty representing the Department of Surgery, Department of Clinical Health and Psychology, the CTSI Imaging Core, McKnight Brain Institute, Institute on Aging, and Adult Endocrinology Division will also be involved.

Recruitment will commence sometime later this year and will continue through 2019. For more information about this study, click here.