The metabolic syndrome and cognitive performance: The Northern Manhattan Study

Julio R. Vieira, Mitchell S V Elkind, Yeseon Park Moon, Tatjana Rundek, Bernadette Boden-Albala, Myunghee C. Paik, Ralph L. Sacco, Clinton B. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a risk factor for diabetes, stroke, myocardial infarction, and increased mortality, and has been associated with cognition in some populations. We hypothesized that MetS would be associated with lower Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores in a multi-ethnic population, and that MetS is a better predictor of cognition than its individual components or diabetes. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional analysis among 3,150 stroke-free participants. MetS was defined by the modified National Cholesterol Education Program guidelines-Adult Treatment Panel III (NCEP-ATPIII) criteria. Linear regression and polytomous logistic regression estimated the association between MMSE score and MetS, its individual components, diabetes, and inflammatory biomarkers. Results: MetS was inversely associated with MMSE score (unadjusted β = -0.67; 95% CI -0.92, -0.41). Adjusting for potential confounders, MetS was associated with lower MMSE score (adjusted β = -0.24; 95% CI -0.47, -0.01), but its individual components and diabetes were not. Those with MetS were more likely to have an MMSE score of <18 than a score of ≥24 (adjusted OR = 1.94; 95% CI 1.26, 3.01). There was an interaction between MetS and race-ethnicity, such that MetS was associated with lower MMSE score among non-Hispanic whites and Hispanics but not non-Hispanic blacks. Conclusions: MetS was associated with lower cognition in a multi-ethnic population. Further studies of the effect of MetS on cognition are warranted, and should account for demographic differences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-159
Number of pages7
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • Cerebrovascular disorders
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Cognitive performance
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Vascular cognitive impairment
  • Vascular dementia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Clinical Neurology


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