Metabolic Syndrome Linked to Poor Cognition in Midlife

Study finds association can be partially explained by occupational position
By A. Agrawal, PhD
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Jan. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Metabolic syndrome that persists over years is associated with worse cognitive function in late middle age, which can be partially accounted for by occupational position, according to a study in the January issue of Diabetes Care.

Tasnime N. Akbaraly, Ph.D., of University College London, and colleagues examined the association between metabolic syndrome (assessed three times over 10 years) and cognitive function in 4,150 Caucasian late middle-aged British civil servants.

Over a 10-year follow-up, and after adjusting for health and demographics, the researchers found that individuals with persistent metabolic syndrome (found at least twice) had significantly lower cognitive function than individuals who never had metabolic syndrome. There were no significant differences in cognitive function between participants with non-persistent metabolic syndrome (found only once) and those who never had metabolic syndrome. Adjusting for education had little effect, while occupational position could explain 41 to 86 percent of the association.

"Only persistent metabolic syndrome was associated with lower cognitive performance in late midlife," the authors conclude. "Adult occupational position but not education had a substantial impact on this association; these results highlight the importance of adult socioeconomic circumstances in identifying and targeting risk factors for cognitive aging."

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