Bariatric Surgery May Lead to Brain Injury Due to Vitamin Deficiency

Studies have shown that, in some patients, bariatric surgery may lead to a severe vitamin deficiency that can cause memory loss and other serious neurologic problems.

Cases of Wernicke’s encephalopathy — a syndrome caused by thiamine deficiency and marked by acute mental confusion, apathy, drowsiness, ataxia, and oculomotor abnormalities — have been reported in the medical literature in patients who underwent bariatric surgery, found Sonal Singh, M.D., of Wake-Forest University here, and Abhay Kumar, M.D., of the University of Iowa in Iowa City. A few of the patients suffered persistent memory loss and motor problems, the investigators reported in the March 13 issue of Neurology.

Most of the patients made a full recovery after receiving parenteral thiamine, although some had residual neurologic problems. The defects included Korsakoff psychosis, a persistent amnestic state with antegrade amnesia and retrograde memory loss, memory problems, persistent ataxia, nystagmus, and neuropathy.

If you have treated for any of these problems following bariatric surgery, please call our law firm for a free consultation.

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