Objective: Metabolic Syndrome (MetS), the clustering of obesity, hypertension, hyperglycemia, and dyslipidemia in a single individual negatively impacts memory. While it has been documented that healthy older women outperform men on tasks of verbal learning and memory, less is known about the moderating effects of gender on cognitive function in middle-aged populations with MetS. This study examines gender differences in memory performance in middle-aged adults with and without MetS. Method: 227 participants age 40–60 (M = 49.12, SD = 6.27) underwent cognitive testing and cardiovascular assessment (73 with MetS, 122 female). MetS status was determined using the International Diabetes Federation criteria. California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT-II) was used to assess memory performance. A memory domain score was calculated by averaging the sample-based z-scores for immediate recall, delayed recall, and recognition. Data were analyzed using SPSS 22.0 with a one-way ANOVA controlling for age, education, and full-scale intellectual quotient. Results: MetS status was significantly related to poorer memory performance (F(1, 221) = 7.84, p = .006). Gender was also significantly related to memory performance, with women performing better than men (F(1,221) = 5.47, p = 0.020). There was no significant interaction between MetS status and gender (F(1,220) = 1.34, p = 0.249). Conclusion: Results confirm that MetS negatively impacts memory. They are also in line with prior findings indicating that healthy older women tend to outperform men on tests of verbal learning. While this is reversed in neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer's disease, it does not appear to be the case in MetS where the negative impact of the syndrome on cognitive function was evident regardless of gender.

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