Identification of cognitive impairment in the elderly: homocysteine is an early marker

Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. Jan-Feb 1999;10(1):12-20. doi: 10.1159/000017092.


In 336 consecutive patients attending a university-affiliated memory unit, clinical and psychological findings, neuroimaging and laboratory tests were analyzed. The patients were diagnosed with early Alzheimer's disease 3%, senile dementia (SDAT) 16%, vascular dementia (VAD) 20%, other dementias 9%, minor cognitive impairment (dysmentia) 32% and subjective symptoms only 21%. Increases in vascular risk factors, serum homocysteine, ApoE4 load and neuroimaging pathology were found in dementia but also in dysmentia and in patients with subjective symptoms only. The homocysteine levels correlated inversely with cognitive performance. The increases in serum homocysteine, which were pathological in VAD, Dysmentia and SDAT, may be indicative of a disturbed cerebral one-carbon metabolism and signal-accelerated development of cognitive disease.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alleles
  • Apolipoproteins E / blood
  • Biomarkers
  • Brain / pathology
  • Cognition Disorders / blood
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Homocysteine / blood*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors


  • Apolipoproteins E
  • Biomarkers
  • Homocysteine