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Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Tied to Migraine Improvement

Major weight loss after surgery may significantly reduce frequency and severity of migraines

TUESDAY, March 29 (HealthDay News) -- Severely obese people who suffer from migraines experience improvement in their headaches after losing a significant amount of weight following bariatric surgery, according to a study published in the March 29 issue of Neurology.

Dale S. Bond, Ph.D., of the Miriam Hospital Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center in Providence, R.I., and colleagues investigated the impact of weight loss on migraine headaches following bariatric surgery. They assessed 24 obese people with migraines before and six months after bariatric surgery. In addition to weight measurements, the patients reported on the frequency of headache days, headache severity, and headache-related disability over the previous 90 days. The team evaluated the changes in the headache measures and their relation to weight loss.

The researchers found that, after weight loss following bariatric surgery, migraine sufferers experienced significant improvements in both frequency and severity of their headaches. The average number of headache days decreased from 11.1 to 6.7, after losing an average of 49.4 percent excess weight. Patients who had greater weight loss were more likely to have a 50 percent or more reduction in the number of headache days. Patients reported a reduction in headache severity, and the number of patients who suffered from moderate to severe disability decreased from 12 before surgery to three after surgery.

"Although large weight losses produced by bariatric surgery appear to positively affect migraine, future clinical trials are needed to examine whether more modest weight losses achieved through behavioral treatments can produce similar improvements," the authors write.

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