A great deal of metabolic syndrome research is focused on the increased risk factors of metabolic syndrome and co-morbidities. Many discussions on metabolic syndrome also include cardiovascular disease, leading many to describe the health phenomenon as cardio-metabolic syndrome.

In one study from the April 2003 issue of Diabetes Care researchers surveyed 888 adults ages 40-79 years old, finding 303 had metabolic syndrome by World Health Organization (WHO) criteria and 158 cases by the National Cholesterol Education Program’s (NCEP) criteria. Within the test subjects, incidence of fatal and nonfatal coronary heart disease (CHD) was compared between individuals with and without metabolic syndrome, finding those with metabolic syndrome had an increased five-year incidence and progression of carotid atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease.


Metabolic Syndrome Research – Kidneys and Liver


Metabolic syndrome research presented by Katherine McGlynn, of the National Institutes of Health, shows that metabolic syndrome increases the risk of the two most common forms of liver cancer: hepatocellular carcinoma and intrahepatic cholangiocinoma. In their study researchers compared 3,649 cases of helpatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and 743 cases of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC) with 195,953 cancer-free individuals. The incidence of metabolic syndrome and HCC was 37.1% and 29.7% for ICC and metabolic syndrome versus the non-cancer population with a metabolic syndrome percentage of 17.1%.

Metabolic syndrome research has also found increased risk of kidney stones. In a cross-sectional analysis of 34,895 individuals, 839 had kidney stones and 4,779 were diagnosed with metabolic syndrome using NCEP criteria. The odds ratio of developing kidney stones increased with waist circumference and blood pressure, with a ratio of 1.25 in individuals with metabolic syndrome. In those with hypertension the ratio for kidney stones was 1.47. The researchers concluded that metabolic syndrome posed a significant risk of kidney stones.


Metabolic Syndrome Research – Links to Depression


In a study published in Diabetes Care researchers explored the relations between depression, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease and examined the correlations between psychological distress, depression, anxiety, and metabolic syndrome. Using surveys collected in rural regions of Australia from 2004 to 2006, the researchers found metabolic syndrome to be associated with depression but not anxiety or psychological distress. It has been hypothesized that depression is associated with the development of diabetes and poor glycemic control. It is also hypothesized that the relationship between psychological disorders and metabolic disorders is due to accumulation of visceral fat, with some proposing that metabolic syndrome is a neuroendocrine disorder. In a separate 2006 study on depression and metabolic syndrome, researchers performed cross-sectional analysis on depressive outpatients from 2002-2004. In a six-year follow-up metabolic syndrome was tested for, finding a 36% incidence particularly in patients with severe depression.