Cognitive decline and dementia both place a heavy burden on patients and their relatives, and any means of preventing such age-related changes are worthy of consideration. Those who have the metabolic syndrome with or without diabetes suffer more often from dysexecutive problems and slower psychomotor speed than do other patients. In epidemiological studies, diabetes has appeared to be a risk factor for all types of dementia, including vascular dementia, although the role of the metabolic syndrome in the risk of Alzheimer's disease is still a matter of debate. The possible mechanisms of cognitive alterations are multiple, and may differ according to age group and duration of diabetes or the metabolic syndrome. Drug interventional trials addressing the prevention of cognitive decline through action on the metabolic syndrome are disappointing-albeit scarce at this time. Lifestyle interventions in middle-aged or younger-elderly subjects should also be implemented in the general population.
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