The role of metabolic syndrome factors on cognition using latent variable modeling: The neurocognitive study on aging
SourceJournal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology
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OBJECTIVE: Although metabolic syndrome (MetS) has been shown to increase the risk of cognitive decline, it still remains unclear whether the risk is related to MetS as a whole or its individual factors. The aim of the present study was to explore whether MetS or its individual factors are associated with a lower cognitive function in older adults in a Mediterranean population using latent variable modeling. METHOD: Neurocognitive data from 640 Greek-Cypriot community dwellers (female 59.1%), aged ≥55 years, in good general health, were analyzed. Assessments of anthropometric, blood pressure, fasting blood glucose, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and triglyceride concentrations were carried out to investigate the relationship between MetS factors and cognitive-linguistic outcomes of language, executive function, and verbal episodic memory. RESULTS: When the MetS factors were modeled as a single latent variable, they had small negative effects on language and executive functions. Significance was not retained after age and education were controlled for. When individual MetS factors along with age and education were modeled as predictors, there were moderate negative age effects, whereas education yielded strong positive effects on all three cognitive outcomes. Weak significant negative coefficients of body mass index (BMI) and blood glucose were found for executive functions, and a weak significant positive effect of BMI was found for memory. Separate analysis by sex resulted in minor but significant differences. CONCLUSION: BMI and blood glucose predicted cognitive performance after controlling for age and education, and thus their proper management should be taken into account for maintaining cognitive health in aging. Findings also demonstrate the importance of education and age in studies investigating cardiometabolic risk factors and cognitive function, as well as the need for further research on the effects of sex.