A study conducted by researchers at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock shows that gastric bypass surgery, used to treat morbid obesity, can cause potentially disabling neurological complications most likely caused by deficiencies in certain nutrients.

The study, led by Katalin Juhasz-Pocsine, MD, and colleagues, reports that symptoms can arise years after the gastric bypass surgery, possibly because affected patients may have sufficient stores of the nutrients in their body at the time of the surgery and it can take years for these stores to be depleted.

Symptoms of the condition include hallucinations and the inability to walk, but in many cases, the condition can be treated with restoration of thiamine, copper, and vitamin B12, although symptoms tend to remain for months while treatment is ongoing. In certain cases, the symptoms remain permanent.

Juhasz-Pocsine recommends that patients always be advised of the need to take mineral and vitamin supplements following surgery and, if possible, to avoid severe and rapid weight loss.

[www.lipo.com, June 7, 2007]