Metabolic syndrome (MetS), i.e., meeting criteria for any three of the following: hyperglycemia, hypertension,
hypertriglyceridemia, low high-density lipoprotein and/or abdominal obesity, is associated with negative health outcomes.
For example, MetS negatively impacts cognition; however, less is known about incremental MetS risk, i.e., meeting 1 or 2
as opposed to 3 or more criteria. We hypothesized incremental MetS risk would negatively contribute to cognition and
relevant neuroanatomy, e.g., memory and hippocampal volumes, and that this risk extends to affective functioning. 119
non-demented/non-depressed participants (age=60.1+12.9;~50% African American) grouped by incremental MetSrisk–no
(0 criteria met), low (1-2 criteria met), or high (3+ criteria met)–were compared across cognition, affect and relevant neuroanatomy
using multivariable linear regressions. Exploratory analyses, stratified by race, consider the role of health disparities
in disease severity of individual MetS component (e.g., actual blood pressure readings) on significant results from
primary analyses. Incremental MetS risk contributed to depressive symptomatology (no<low<high), learning and memory
performance (no>low=high) after controlling for age, race (n.s.) and IQ. Different indices of disease severity contributed
to different aspects of brain structure and function by race providing empirical support for future studies of the impact distinct
health disparities in vascular risk have on brain aging. MetS compromised mood, cognition and hippocampal structure
with incremental risk applying to some but not all of these outcomes. Care providers may wish to monitor a broader
spectrum of risk including components of MetS like blood pressure and cholesterol levels when considering brainbehavior
relationships in adults from diverse populations.