Several risk factors such as overweight and high blood pressure have quite often been accused of causing metabolic syndrome. A latest study now asserts that the elderly population at risk of metabolic syndrome has higher threat of memory loss. Apart from raising chances of a heart attack and type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome is also presumed to trigger stroke.

While conducting the study, a total of 7,087 people aged 65 and above from three French cities were tested for metabolic syndrome. 16 percent of the study subjects possibly had metabolic syndrome. After two and four years, volunteers were made to perform a series of memory and cognitive function tests. These tests comprised a memory test, a test of visual working memory and a test of word fluency.

“Our study sheds new light on how metabolic syndrome and the individual factors of the disease may affect cognitive health,” explained, study author Christelle Raffaitin, MD, 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.”

Those with metabolic syndrome apparently were 20 percent more likely to have cognitive decline on the memory test than subjects with no metabolic syndrome. As compared to those without the disorder, participants with metabolic syndrome possibly had a 13 percent more risk of cognitive decline on the visual working memory test. Higher triglycerides and low HDL cholesterol were supposedly associated with poorer memory scores. Throughout the study, no link between poorer visual working memory and word fluency scores was reported.

The study is published in the February 2, 2011, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.