Young Girls’ Weight-Loss Surgery Could Cause Mental Retardation in Their Children

As the growing problem of obesity plagues American children, many young people are turning to gastric bypass surgery to solve their weight loss problem. However, according to a case study presented Sunday, Oct. 3, at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition in San Francisco, and reported by Science Daily, some girls could have ominous after-effects from the surgery when they become pregnant.

Authors of the study said that they’d found a possible link between gastric bypass surgery in adolescent girls and an increased risk for neural tube defects, which can lead to varying degrees of disability such as paralysis and mental retardation due to damage to the nervous system, in their future children:

“The report, ‘Neural Tube Defects: An Unforseen Consequence of Gastric Bypass Surgery in Young Female Patients?’ reviewed the case of a young patient who had undergone gastric bypass surgery prior to becoming pregnant.… A literature review found six additional documented cases of children born with neural tube defects thought to be due to maternal nutritional deficiencies, particularly malabsorption (when the body cannot absorb nutrients), following bypass surgery.”

The study’s authors commented that this might serve as a warning signal to physicians and their patients to include post-surgery counseling about birth control and how to avoid nutritional deficiencies.

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