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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Low Erythrocyte Folate, But Not Plasma Vitamin B-12 Or Homocysteine, Is Associated with Dementia in Elderly Latinos

Authors
item Campbell, A - UC DAVIS, NUTR. DEPT.
item Jagust, W - UCDMC, NEUROLOGY
item Mungas, D - UCDMC, NEUROLOGY
item Miller, J - UCDMC, MED. PATHOLOGY
item Green, R - UCDMC, MED. PATHOLOGY
item Haan, M - UNIV. MICHIGAN PUB.HEALTH
item Allen, Lindsay

Submitted to: Journal of Nutrition Health and Aging
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 1, 2005
Publication Date: September 25, 2005
Citation: Campbell, A.K., Jagust, W.J., Mungas, D.M., Miller, J.W., Green, R., Haan, M.N., Allen, L.H. 2005. LOW ERYTHROCYTE FOLATE, BUT NOT PLASMA VITAMIN B-12 OR HOMOCYSTEINE, IS ASSOCIATED WITH DEMENTIA IN ELDERLY LATINOS. Journal of Nutrition Health and Aging. 9(1):39-43.

Interpretive Summary: The relationship between B vitamin status and cognitive function has been of interest for many years (1-5). There is evidence of relationships between intake and status of folate or vitamin B-12 and neurological impairment, and poor performance in various domains of cognitive function and memory, but results have been inconsistent across studies. The relative importance of vitamin B-12 and folate status, and plasma Hcy as predictors of cognitive function, however, has not been fully explored. In a large population-based sample, Latino elderly in California, we found that folate status was related to dementia after controlling for potential confounding factors, but that neither vitamin B-12 status or homocysteine levels were predictors of dementia.

Technical Abstract: The relationship between B vitamin status and cognitive function has been of interest for many years. There is evidence of relationships between intake and status of folate and vitamin B-12 with neurological, cognitive, and memory impairment, but results have been inconsistent. Plasma B-12, erythrocyte folate, methylmalonic acid, and homocysteine were evaluated as predictors of cognitive function in a large population-based sample of Latino elderly living in the Sacramento, California region. The hypothesis tested was that low folate and/or B-12 status predicts cognitive function impairment and dementia. Logistic regression was used to examine the differences in B-vitamin status by cognitive function category. Erythrocyte folate was related to dementia after controlling for age, gender, education, diabetes diagnosis, surum creatinine, and depressive symptoms. The highest prevalence of low erythrocyte folate occurred in the Dementia group and was significantly higher than in the Normal group. Plasma B-12, MMA, Hcy, and prevalence of abnormal values for these variables, were not significantly different among the cognitive function classes. We conclude that folate status is associated with dementia but that more research is needed on the relationship between vitamin B-12 status, Hcy and cognitive function to explore possible associations with these parameters.

Last Modified: 9/20/2014
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