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Vol. 23, No. 1, 2007
Issue release date: December 2006

Metabolic Syndrome and Cognitive Function: A Population-Based Follow-Up Study in Elderly Women

Komulainen P. · Lakka T.A. · Kivipelto M. · Hassinen M. · Helkala E.-L. · Haapala I. · Nissinen A. · Rauramaa R.
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Abstract

Objective: To test the hypothesis that metabolic syndrome predicts cognitive impairment, and to examine the association of single metabolic risk factors with cognitive functioning. Methods: Weperformed a 12-year follow-up study in a population-based sample of 101 women aged 60–70 years at baseline. Metabolic syndrome wasdefined by the National Cholesterol Education Program criteria (≧3 out of 5 risk factors). Global cognitive function was measured by the Mini-Mental State Examination both at baseline and follow-up. A detailed neuropsychological evaluation for memory and cognitive speed was performed at follow-up. Results: The prevalence of metabolic syndrome increased from 13% at baseline to 49% at follow-up (p < 0.001). Women with metabolic syndrome at baseline had a 4.27 (95% confidence interval: 1.02–17.90; p = 0.047) times higher risk of poor memory at follow-up after adjustment for age, education and depression. The increasing number of metabolic risk factors was associated with worsening of memory at follow-up (p = 0.034 for linear trend). Women with low baseline levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol were more likely to have poor memory at follow-up than those with higher HDL levels (p = 0.028). The risk of having poor memory increased by 46.5% (95% confidence interval: 15–66%; p = 0.008) with 1 SD decrease in HDL cholesterol level. Conclusion: In elderly women, metabolic syndrome may be an important contributor to worsening of memory, which is an essential part of mild cognitive impairment.



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