Individuals with metabolic syndrome risk memory problems in addition to type 2 diabetes

Older individuals who have metabolic syndrome - a cluster of conditions which often leads to type 2 diabetes - may be at an increased risk of developing memory problems, according to a new study from a team of French researchers.

Metabolic syndrome is characterized by having three or more symptoms from a list that includes high blood pressure, excess belly fat, elevated blood sugar levels and unhealthy cholesterol scores.

For years, medical professionals have known that the condition increases an individual's risk of developing chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. However, the findings, which were published in the journal Neurology, provide the first evidence to suggest that it may also impair memory.



For the study, researchers from the French National Institute of Health Research and the University Victor Segalen Bordeaux tested more than 7,000 individuals for metabolic syndrome. Two and four years later, the participants were given a series of tests to evaluate their memory function.



The researchers found that those who tested positive for metabolic syndrome were 20 percent more likely to show symptoms of cognitive decline during the follow up period. Those who developed diabetes scored particularly poorly on measures of visual memory and word fluency.

"Our results suggest that management of metabolic syndrome may help slow down age-related memory loss, or delay the onset of dementia," said Christelle Raffaitin, who led the study. "Our study sheds new light on how metabolic syndrome and the individual factors of the disease may affect cognitive health."

A previous study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that individuals with metabolic syndrome are nearly four times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
 
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