Metabolic syndrome, Inflammation, and neurodegeneration
The project plans to explain how metabolic syndrome is related to brain ageing and what their links are.
Metabolic syndrome is a group of medical conditions that often occur together. These include high blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure, and abdominal obesity. The syndrome is very common and approximately one third of the older adults in the UK and the US are affected. It is well known that metabolic syndrome increases the risk of other diseases such as heart disease and stroke. However its impact on brain ageing has not been thoroughly studied in the UK Biobank. For example, which cognitive function or brain areas are most affected? Do dementia and Parkinson's disease occur more frequently in the people with the metabolic syndrome? If they do, we also plan to find out what are the links between the two. Metabolic syndrome may increase immune responses (e.g. inflammation) in our body and this can lead to the brain changes. Also people with certain genetic components or medical conditions e.g. rheumatoid arthritis might be more susceptible to the brain damages. The project will expand our knowledge on the complex relationships between metabolic syndrome and brain ageing.
Public health impact
Metabolic syndrome and brain ageing are important public health issues. The project may help us understand how the management of metabolic syndrome may decrease its impact on brain changes in the ageing population.