Bariatric surgery may increase risk of epilepsy

Bariatric surgery has become more common as global rates of obesity have increased, but it may also raise the risk of developing epilepsy, according to new research.

Analyzing health records, investigators compared almost 17,000 patients who had undergone bariatric surgery with more than 620,000 individuals with obesity who had not undergone the procedure and found that – during a minimum three-year follow-up period – the surgery group had a 45% higher risk of developing epilepsy than the nonsurgery group.

“When considering having bariatric surgery, people should talk to their doctors about the benefits and risks,” said senior investigator Jorge Burneo, MD, professor of neurology, biostatistics, and epidemiology and endowed chair in epilepsy at Western University, London, Canada.

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