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Series Website: shiftingthebalance.nhpr.orgShifting the Balance is a station-wide series focused on the positive impact environmental and policy changes can have on the fight against obesity in schools, workplaces, and communities. While so much of the national conversation about obesity focuses on the effect of personal choice, NHPR’s reporters and producers are examining what happens when the choices themselves are changed. Shifting the Balance will present stories of how personal habits, including exercise and consumption, can be improved when even simple changes are made to an individual’s environment, including infrastructure, available food, and the support of leaders and innovators across the culture.

Shrinking Stomach, Changing Brain

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Ethan Hein
/
Flickr Creative Commons

Thanks to growing awareness of a national obesity epidemic, and the lowering of complication rates since its introduction in the 1960s, gastric bypass procedures have become an increasingly popular treatment option for the morbidly obese.  At least 200,000 people signed up last year in the U.S. alone. 

But new evidence shows that these surgeries aren’t just shrinking stomachs: they’re rewiring patient’s brains.  Samantha Murphy is a freelance science journalist whose recent article for New Scientist details her own experience with gastric bypass, and reveals what new research is saying about how the procedures actually work.