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Weight-Loss Surgery May Cut Migraine Pain in Obese Patients
Date:3/28/2011

potential benefit of bariatric surgery on migraines, Bond and his associates focused on 24 severely obese patients with a history of migraines.

Most of the patients were women (88 percent), with an average age of about 39, and more than 70 percent were white. All were severely obese, with an average pre-surgery body-mass index (BMI, a measurement that is based on height and weight) of 46.6. More than half underwent the banding surgical option, according to the report.

Although 70 percent of the patients were still characterized as "obese" six months post-surgery, by that time point, patient BMI had plummeted to an average of 34.6.

Questionnaires completed before and after the procedure revealed that whereas the patients had experienced an average of 11 migraine headaches over the prior three months leading up to surgery, that figure dropped to less than seven by the six-month post-surgery mark.

Specifically, 58 percent of the patients said they had fewer headaches post-surgery. Another 17 percent experienced no change, while a quarter said they actually had more frequent headaches, the investigators found.

Overall, the greater the weight loss post-surgery, the greater the apparent drop in migraine risk, the researchers reported.

Aside from frequency, migraine severity and the disabling consequences that can result also seemed to dissipate post-surgery. While half of the patients said their migraines were either moderately or severely disabling pre-surgery (requiring medical care), only 12.5 percent said the same was true six months following surgery.

Commenting on the study, Dr. Frederick J. de la Vega, a neurologist at the Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla in San Diego, said that the observations raise a lot of as-yet unanswered questions.

"It seems to be good news for these types of obese patients, of course," he said. "It's a win-win. But this kind of surgery involves some risks. And so I don't think people who suf
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