Glycaemia but not the Metabolic Syndrome is Associated with Cognitive Decline: Findings From the European Male Ageing Study

Margot J Overman, Neil Pendleton, Terence O'Neill, Gyorgy Bartfai, Felipe Casanueva, Gianni Forti, Giulia Rastrelli, Aleksander Giwercman, Thang S Han, Ilpo T. Huhtaniemi, Krzysztof Kula, Michael E J Lean, Margus Punab, David Lee, Elon S Correa, Michaël R Laurent, Sabine Verschueren, Leen Antonio, Evelien Gielen, Martin RutterDirk Vanderschueren, Frederick Wu, Jos Tournoy, The EMAS Study Group

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Objectives Previous research has indicated that components of the metabolic syndrome (MetS), such as hyperglycaemia and hypertension, are negatively associated with cognition. However, evidence that MetS itself is related to cognitive performance has been inconsistent. In this longitudinal study, we aimed to investigate whether MetS or its components affect cognitive decline in ageing men and whether any interaction with inflammation existed. Design Longitudinal study over a mean of 4.4 (SD ± 0.3) years. Setting Multi-centre European male Ageing Study (EMAS). Participants Men aged 40-79 years. Measurements Cognitive functioning was assessed using the Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure (ROCF), the Camden Topographical Recognition Memory (CTRM) task, and the Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST). High-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) levels were measured using a chemiluminescent immunometric assay. Results Overall, 1,913 participants contributed data to the ROCF analyses and 1,965 subjects contributed to the CTRM and DSST analyses. In multiple regression models, the presence of baseline MetS was not associated with cognitive decline over time (p>0.05). However, logistic ordinal regressions indicated that high glucose levels were related to a greater risk of decline on the ROCF Copy (β=-0.42, p<0.05) and the DSST (β=-0.39, p<0.001). There was neither a main effect of hs-CRP levels nor an interaction effect of hs-CRP and MetS at baseline on cognitive decline. Conclusions We found no evidence for a relationship between MetS or inflammation and cognitive decline in this sample of ageing men. However, glycaemia was negatively associated with visuo-constructional abilities and processing speed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)662-671
JournalThe American journal of geriatric psychiatry : official journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number6
Early online date7 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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