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For Many, Weight-Loss Surgery Also Eases Migraines
Date:6/15/2011

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, June 15 (HealthDay News) -- Severely obese patients who suffer from migraines may see them fade or become less frequent after having weight-reducing gastric bypass surgery, University of Iowa researchers say.

In the three years following surgery, 70 percent of the patients reported being migraine-free and more than 18 percent saw their migraines reduced from five to two a month, the researchers found.

"The association between migraine and obesity is controversial," said lead researcher Dr. Isaac Samuel, director of the University of Iowa Obesity Surgery Program. "Some people say the risk for migraine is higher in obese people; others say the symptoms are worse," he said.

There could be a number of reasons why migraine is relieved by gastric bypass surgery, including hormonal changes that occur after the procedure or certain proteins produced by fat cells, Samuel said.

"Severely obese patients with migraine should be encouraged to have gastric bypass if they want relief of the symptoms," Samuel said. "In addition, people who are obese, but not severely obese, should be encouraged to lose weight if they have migraine."

The findings of the study were due to be presented Wednesday at the 28th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery in Orlando, Fla. Since the study is small and it has not appeared in a peer-reviewed journal, its findings should be considered preliminary.

Like all other operations, bariatric surgery carries some medical risks, including. serious infections, internal bleeding, blood clots, and death, according to the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery (ASMBA). The organization reports that the overall risk of serious complications is about 4 percent and the risk of dying is one in 1,000.

Weight-loss surgery is also expensive, costing from $17,000 to $35,000 or more, dependin
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