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Korean J Fam Med. 2011 Sep;32(6):358-66. doi: 10.4082/kjfm.2011.32.6.358. Epub 2011 Sep 28.

The Relationship between Metabolic Syndrome and Cognitive Function.

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  • 1Department of Family Medicine, St. Vincent's Hospital, The Catholic University of Korea School of Medicine, Suwon, Korea.



Metabolic syndrome has been reported to have adverse effects on cognitive function, although the results are conflicting. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between metabolic syndrome and cognitive function in elderly Korean participants older than 60 years.


We examined elderly participants who visited the health promotion center in Gyeonggi-do province. We categorized the participants into two groups based on the presence of metabolic syndrome (48 participants in the metabolic syndrome group and 45 in the control group). Cognitive function was assessed in all participants using the Korean version of the Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer's Disease (CERAD-K).


Compared with those without metabolic syndrome, participants with metabolic syndrome had lower mean total CERAD-K scores (64.2 ± 11.1 vs. 69.8 ± 9.2, P = 0.010). In the comparison of CERAD-K items, significantly lower scores were observed in the verbal fluency test, the construction recall test, the word list learning test, and trail making B in the group with metabolic syndrome. After controlling age, sex, education, smoking, alcohol, physical activity and the Korean version of the Short Geriatric Depression Scale of Korean, multiple regression analysis showed that metabolic syndrome was independently associated with cognitive function (P = 0.014). Alcohol intake (P = 0.002) and education years (P = 0.001) were also contributing factors to cognitive function.


This study found a significant relationship between cognitive function and metabolic syndrome. It will be necessary to perform a prospective study to determine whether metabolic syndrome causes cognitive dysfunction or if the correction of metabolic syndrome can improve cognitive function.


CERAD-K; Cognitive Function; Metabolic Syndrome

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