High blood pressure, obesity linked to memory loss in elderly

(USAToday.com) — Older people who have larger waistlines, high blood pressure and other risk factors associated with a condition doctors call “metabolic syndrome” may be at higher risk of memory problems, a new study suggests.

In the large French study, older adults with metabolic syndrome were 20% more likely to have cognitive decline on a memory test than those without it.

“Our study sheds new light on how metabolic syndrome and the individual factors of the disease may affect cognitive health,” said study author Christelle Raffaitin, of the French National Institute of Health Research in Bordeaux, France. “Our results suggest that management of metabolic syndrome may help slow down age-related memory loss, or delay the onset of dementia.”

The study, by researchers from the University Victor Segalen Bordeaux 2 and Sanofi-Aventis, runs in today’s online issue of Neurology. The authors report that 16% of the 7,087 participants — men and women from three French cities who were over 65 years old —had metabolic syndrome.

Study participants took a series of tests, including a memory test, a visual memory test, and a word fluency test, two and four years later.


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