Pre-surgical cortical activation to food pictures is associated with weight loss following bariatric surgery

Abigail Ness, Jared Bruce, Amanda Bruce, Robin Aupperle, Rebecca Lepping, Laura Martin, Laura Hancock, Trisha Patrician, Steve Malley, Niazy Selim, Cary R. Savage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Conclusion We found that neural activity in previously established regions associated with cognitive and behavioral self-regulation predicts weight loss following bariatric surgery. These preliminary findings highlight the role of neural circuitry in the success and maintenance of weight loss and suggest a possible future use of fMRI in screening LAGB surgery candidates.

Background Recent research suggests that preintervention functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data may predict weight loss outcomes among patients who participate in a behavioral weight loss plan. No study has examined whether presurgical brain activation can predict outcomes following bariatric surgery. Method The aim of the present study was to determine if brain activations during a presurgical fMRI food-motivation paradigm are associated with weight loss 3 and 6 months following laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB). Nineteen participants viewed food and nonfood pictures from a well-established food motivation paradigm during an fMRI scanning session before LAGB surgery. Weight was assessed presurgery and 3 and 6 months postsurgery; data for all participants was available at each time point. fMRI data were analyzed using the BrainVoyager QX statistical package. Whole brain voxelwise correlations of presurgery (food-nonfood) brain activation and weight, corrected for multiple comparisons, were performed to analyze the relationship between presurgical brain activation and subsequent weight loss. The settings were a medical university brain imaging center and 2 surgical weight loss centers in a major metropolitan area.

Results Increased activity in frontal regions associated with cognitive control (medial, middle, superior frontal gyrus) and posterior cingulate cortex was associated with weight loss following LAGB.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1188-1195
Number of pages8
JournalSurgery for Obesity and Related Diseases
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Bariatric surgery
  • Baseline predictor
  • Functional MRI
  • Neural mechanisms
  • Neuroimaging
  • Weight loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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