Homocysteine and cognitive decline in healthy elderly

Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. Sep-Oct 2001;12(5):309-13. doi: 10.1159/000051275.

Abstract

Serum homocysteine is increased, and correlates inversely with cognitive scores, in Alzheimer's disease (AD), vascular dementia and "age-associated memory impairment". Elevated levels might signal accelerated cognitive decline, although this remains to be established. We therefore repeated Mini-Mental State Examinations, together with additional ADAS-Cog assessments, in 32 healthy elderly individuals to determine whether prior homocysteine levels predicted cognitive changes over a 5-year period. Homocysteine predicted follow-up cognitive scores and rate of decline in cognitive performance independently of age, sex, education, renal function, vitamin B status, smoking and hypertension (p < 0.001). Homocysteine predicted word recall (p = 0.01), orientation (p = 0.02) and constructional praxis scores (p < 0.0001). One subject, with the second highest initial homocysteine, had developed probable AD at follow-up. Fasting total serum homocysteine appears to be an independent predictor of cognitive decline in healthy elderly and exerts a maximal effect on spatial copying skills.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / blood*
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology
  • Cognition Disorders / blood*
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Homocysteine / blood*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Wales

Substances

  • Homocysteine