Characterization of Executive Functioning in a Portuguese Sample of Candidates for Bariatric Surgery

Olga Ribeiro, Dina Grencho, Isabel do Carmo, Teresa Paiva, Luísa Figueira, Góis Horácio


Aim: The prevalence of obesity has been steadily increasing and is a major worldwide public health problem. It is associated with multiple medical and psychological conditions and recent research supports a link to several cognitive deficit domains, including executive functioning. The aim of this article is to describe socio-demographic, clinical and neuropsychological characteristics of a sample of candidates for bariatric surgery (BS) and to compare their performance with normative values. Method: Between May 2012 and May 2013 we evaluated the neuropsychological performance of 42 patient candidates for BS at the Morbid Obesity Consultation at Centro Hospitalar Lisboa Norte (CHLN). Results: The population was predominantly female and education was equally distributed between basic, secondary and tertiary levels. The neuropsychological results showed a significant decrease on Recall (p < .01), Learning (p < .10), Nonverbal Memory (p < .001), Cognitive Flexibility (p < .01) and Resistance to Interference (p < .05). Conclusion: Despite the limitations inherent to a small sample, the results obtained in the Portuguese population coincide with those of earlier studies; namely that obesity differentially effects instrumental functions.


severe obesity; cognitive performance; executive functions; neuropsychology