Cholesterol ratio linked to cognitive decline

High ratios of total cholesterol to high density lipoprotein are associated with an increased risk of cognitive decline, a study suggests.

Researchers from France suggest that management of metabolic syndrome could help to combat age-related cognitive decline.

They followed a cohort of 7,087 people aged over 65. They estimated the prospective association between metabolic syndrome and the risk of cognitive decline over four years.

Researchers measured people’s cognitive decline using three tests. They assessed global cognitive function using the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), verbal fluency using the Isaacs Set Test (IST) for verbal fluency and visual working memory using the Benton Visual Retention Test (BVRT).

Over the four-year follow-up, declines in mental function were found in a greater proportion of participants with metabolic syndrome than those in other participants. Participants with metabolic syndrome also had a significantly increased risk of reduced global cognitive function and visual working memory. However, no component of the metabolic syndrome was associated with reduction in verbal fluency.

The researchers commented: ‘Metabolic syndrome as a whole and several of its components had a negative impact on global cognitive decline and specific functions in older people.’

But they added: ‘The question of the specificity of cognitive tests is far from being clear cut.’

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