Cobalamin deficiency: Clinical picture and radiological findings

Chiara Briani, Chiara Dalla Torre, Valentina Citton, Renzo Manara, Sara Pompanin, Gianni Binotto, Fausto Adami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Vitamin B12 deficiency causes a wide range of hematological, gastrointestinal, psychiatric and neurological disorders. Hematological presentation of cobalamin deficiency ranges from the incidental increase of mean corpuscular volume and neutrophil hypersegmentation to symptoms due to severe anemia, such as angor, dyspnea on exertion, fatigue or symptoms related to congestive heart failure, such as ankle edema, orthopnea and nocturia. Neuropsychiatric symptoms may precede hematologic signs and are represented by myelopathy, neuropathy, dementia and, less often, optic nerve atrophy. The spinal cord manifestation, subacute combined degeneration (SCD), is characterized by symmetric dysesthesia, disturbance of position sense and spastic paraparesis or tetraparesis. The most consistent MRI finding is a symmetrical abnormally increased T2 signal intensity confined to posterior or posterior and lateral columns in the cervical and thoracic spinal cord. Isolated peripheral neuropathy is less frequent, but likely overlooked. Vitamin B12 deficiency has been correlated negatively with cognitive functioning in healthy elderly subjects. Symptoms include slow mentation, memory impairment, attention deficits and dementia. Optic neuropathy occurs occasionally in adult patient. It is characterized by symmetric, painless and progressive visual loss. Parenteral replacement therapy should be started soon after the vitamin deficiency has been established.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4521-4539
Number of pages19
JournalNutrients
Volume5
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 15 2013

Keywords

  • Cobalamin
  • Neuroimaging
  • Neuropathy
  • Subacute combined degeneration
  • Vitamin B12

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science

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