Metabolism and brain injury

Stephen Black sblack at UBISHOPS.CA
Tue Apr 29 11:09:43 EST 1997

On Mon, 28 Apr 1997, Lisa Hamilton wrote:

> I suffered a brain injury about one year ago.  Since that time 
> (actually, within the first two months) I gained 50lbs.  I used to 
> weigh 125 and now weigh about 178.
> I've talked with others who have had head injuries or brain surgery 
> and 3 of the 4 said they gained 30+ pounds.  Only one has been able to 
> take the weight off.  

Well this is rather improbable, particularly as a cause of weight gain in 
three of four people after head injury or brain surgery, but what the heck. 
There are rare cases of people suffering damage to the hypothalamus 
(usually from a tumour) who show sometimes astonishing increases in weight.
The classic case of that of Reeves and Plum (1969) of a young woman with 
an inoperable hypothalamic tumour who gained just under one pound a day 
for two months. The condition has a well-known experimental counterpart 
in rats, called the "hypothalamic hyperphagic syndrome". If your brain 
injury impinged on the hypothalamus, particularly the medial region, it 
might be worth considering.


Reeves, A., & Plum, F. (1969). Hyperphagia, rage, and dementia 
  accompanying a ventromedial hypothalamic neoplasm. Archives of
  Neurology, 20, 616-624.


Stephen Black, Ph.D.                      tel: (819) 822-9600 ext 2470
Department of Psychology                  fax: (819) 822-9661
Bishop's University                    e-mail: sblack at
Lennoxville, Quebec               
J1M 1Z7                    Bishop's Department of Psychology web page at:                                                      

                        "I'm a scientist. Certainty is a big word for me."
                                 -from the movie "Volcano"                

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