Metabolic Syndrome and Cognitive Function: Cross-Sectional Study on Community-Dwelling Non-Demented Older Adults in Japan



This is a cross-sectional study of relation between metabolic syndrome and cognitive function in community-dwelling non-demented older adults in Japan. We examine the effect of metabolic syndrome and its components on global cognitive function. We also aim to clarify differences of specific cognitive domains between the subjects with and without metabolic syndrome.


We studied 2150 subjects aged between 60 and 90 years whose scores on mini mental state examination (MMSE) were over 23 points. We analyzed difference in MMSE scores between the subjects with and without metabolic syndrome. Logistic regression analysis was performed with MMSE score as the dependent variable and metabolic syndrome components as the independent variable adjusted with age. We also examined differences in attention, logical memory, and verbal and category fluency between the subjects with and without metabolic syndrome.


MMSE scores were not significantly different between subjects with and without metabolic syndrome. In logistic regression analysis, the score of MMSE was significantly negatively associated with triglycerides in males and significantly negatively associated with abdominal circumference in females. Subjects with metabolic syndrome showed significantly lower performance of attention tasks compared to subjects without metabolic syndrome.


Our results suggest that in community-dwelling non-demented Japanese older adults, attention but not global cognitive function may be impaired by metabolic syndrome. Inverted association between some components of metabolic syndrome and global cognitive function indicate necessity of further studies on the relation between undernutrition and cognitive function.

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Data availability statement: Research data are not shared.


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This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI (Grant Number 15K11771: Sonomi Hattori, 25460773: Yuji Uematsu) and by the national government’s Hometown Employment Reproduction Special Fund Projects (2010–2011, Wakayama Prefecture, Grant Number 100015: Mikio Arita, the Project of Collaboration between Health Care and Medical Service for the revitalization of Community-Based Medical Service Systems). We thank Benjamin Phillis from Wakayama Medical University for proofreading and editing the manuscript.

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Authors contribution: M. Buyo, A. Iwahara, S. Hattori, Y. Uematsu and M. Arita designed the study. M. Buyo, A. Iwahara, S. Hattori, Y. Uematsu, M. Arita acquired the data. M. Buyo and A. Iwahara conducted the statistical analysis. M. Buyo and S. Takahashi managed the literature searches and prepared the manuscript. T. Tsuji, S. Yamada and S. Ukai provided feedback about data analysis and interpretation. All authors have approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Momoko Buyo.

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Conflict of interests: The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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Buyo, M., Takahashi, S., Iwahara, A. et al. Metabolic Syndrome and Cognitive Function: Cross-Sectional Study on Community-Dwelling Non-Demented Older Adults in Japan. J Nutr Health Aging (2020).

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Key words

  • Attention
  • cognitive function
  • local resident cohort study
  • metabolic syndrome
  • mini mental state examination