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ASMBS: Gastric Bypass Alleviates Migraine Headaches

Roux-en-Y gastric bypass benefits migraines especially when obesity precedes headache onset

WEDNESDAY, June 15 (HealthDay News) -- Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) is associated with a substantial resolution of migraine headaches (MH) in morbidly obese patients, especially when obesity onset precedes the development of migraine, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, held from June 12 to 17 in Orlando, Fla.

Yusuf Gunay, M.D., from the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine in Iowa City, and colleagues investigated the impact of RYGB on MH in 81 morbidly obese patients who underwent RYGB between 2000 and 2009. Participants were mostly females (90 percent), with an average age of 40 years and average body mass index of 48 kg/m². They were followed up for an average of 38.6 months. In a subsequent analysis, 51 patients who developed MH after obesity onset (MHAO group) were compared to 24 who had MH before obesity onset (MHBO group).

The investigators found that, following significant weight loss within an average of 5.6 months, 89 percent of the patients showed clinical improvement of MH, with 57 patients reporting complete, 15 partial, and nine no MH resolution. Clinical improvement was seen in 48 patients in the MHAO group (41 complete, seven partial, and three no resolution), and in 18 patients from the MHBO group (11 complete, seven partial, and six no resolution). MH resolution after RYGB was significantly greater in the MHAO group than in the MHBO group.

"Weight loss following RYGB substantially resolves migraine headaches, especially when obesity onset precedes the development of migraine," the authors write.

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