Psychiatry Investig.  2008 Mar;5(1):36-40.

Folate, Vitamin B12, and Homocysteine as Risk Factors for Cognitive Decline in the Elderly

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju, Korea.
  • 2Clinical Trial Center, Chonnam National University Hospital, Gwangju, Korea.


Cross-sectional studies have shown that the dysregulation of one-carbon metabolism is associated with cognitive impairment. However, the findings of longitudinal studies investigating this association have been inconsistent. This study investigated the prospective associations between cognitive decline and the levels of folate, vitamin B12 and homocysteine both at baseline and over course of the study period.
A total of 607 (83%) elderly individuals were selected from a group of 732 elderly individuals without dementia at baseline and followed over a 2.4-year study period. The Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) was administered to the subjects, and the serum levels of folate, vitamin B12 and homocysteine were assayed both at baseline and at follow-up examinations. Covariates included demographic data, disability, depression, alcohol consumption, physical activity, vascular risk factors, serum creatinine level, vitamin intake, and apolipoprotein E genotype.
Cognitive decline was associated with decreasing quintiles of folate at baseline, a relative decline in folate and an increase in homocysteine across the two examinations after adjustment for relevant covariates.
These results suggest that folate and homocysteine are involved in the etiology of cognitive decline in the elderly.


Folate; Vitamin B12; Homocysteine; Cognitive decline; Dementia
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