Homocysteine and cognitive function in healthy elderly community dwellers in Italy

Giovanni Ravaglia, Paola Forti, Fabiola Maiol, Antonio Muscari, Loredana Sacchetti, Giorgia Arnone, Valeria Nativio, Teresa Talerico, Erminia Mariani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Elevated plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) concentrations are common in the elderly and have been suggested to be a risk factor for dementia. Objective: In an elderly population, we examined the relation between plasma tHcy and scores on the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), a commonly used screening measure of cognitive impairment in general practice. Design: Fasting plasma tHcy concentrations were measured in 650 healthy, cognitively normal Italian community dwellers aged ≥ 65 y (x̄ ± SD; 72.8 ± 6.0 y). Socioeconom c status; serum folate, vitamin B-12, and creatinine; other potential dietary and lifestyle determinants of tHcy; and conventional vascular disease risk factors were also assessed. Results: Subjects with MMSE scores of 26-28 had higher plasma tHcy concentrations (12.7 μmol/L; range: 12.2-13.2 μmol/L) than did those with scores > 28 (11.9 μmol/L; 11.4-12.3 μmol/L; P 28 (P <0.001). The risk of hyperhomocysteinemia (plasma tHcy > 15 μmol/L) was higher in subjects with scores of 24-25 (odds ratio: 3.81; 95% CI: 1.9, 7.5) or 26-28 (odds ratio: 1.96; 95% CI: 1.3, 3.0) than in those with scores > 28. The results did not change after adjustment for conventional vascular risk factors and for age, medical, dietary, and lifestyle determinants of plasma tHcy. Conclusion: Elevated plasma tHcy has an independent, graded association with concurrent cognitive impairment as measured with the MMSE in healthy elderly community dwellers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)668-673
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Volume77
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2003

Keywords

  • Cognition
  • Conselice Study
  • Elderly subjects
  • Folate
  • Homocysteine
  • Italy
  • Mini-Mental State Examination
  • Vitamin in B-12

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science

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