People over the age of 65 with metabolic syndrome are at an increased risk of cognitive decline, according to a study published this month in Neurology. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of symptoms, including hypertension, abdominal obesity, high triglycerides, low HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and high blood sugar levels. Researchers in France looked at 4,323 women and 2,764 men. In addition to cognitive decline, those with metabolic syndrome were more likely to have symptoms of depression and a history of heart disease.

Raffaitin C, Féart C, Le Goff M, et al. Metabolic syndrome and cognitive decline in French elders: The Three-City Study. Neurology. 2011;76:518-525.  

Glucose Tolerance Status and Risk of Dementia in the Community - The Hisayama Study

This study investigated the association between blood glucose level [glucose tolerance status defined by a 75-g oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT)] and the development of dementia. 1,017 dementia-free patients, aged ≥60 years, underwent the OGTT, and were followed up for 15 years for clinical signs of dementia. The results showed that Alzheimer disease (AD) and vascular dementia (VaD) were significantly higher in subjects with diabetes than in those with normal glucose tolerance, regardless of age and gender. Moreover, the risks of developing all-cause dementia, AD, and VaD significantly increased with elevated 2-hour after meal plasma glucose (PG) levels even after adjustment for covariates, but no such associations were observed for fasting plasma glucose (FPG) levels: compared with those with 2-hour PG levels of <6.7 mmol/L. Researchers concluded that diabetes is a significant risk factor for all-cause dementia, AD, and probably VaD. Moreover, 2-hour PG levels, but not FPG levels, are closely associated with increased risk of all-cause dementia, AD, and VaD.

Glucose tolerance status and risk of dementia in the community: the hisayama study. - Ohara, T. et al, Pages: 1126-1134 Neurology September 20, 2011 77:1126-1134,