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B12 Deficiency Common in Long-Term Care Residents

Researcher says findings warrant consideration of mandatory B12 screening at admission

Elderly woman playing cards

TUESDAY, Jan. 19, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Vitamin B12 deficiency is common among seniors in long-term care, according to a study published online Jan. 19 in the Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.

The study included residents of eight long-term care facilities in the province of Ontario, Canada.

The researchers found that the prevalence of B12 deficiency at admission was 13.8 percent. One year post-admission the incidence was found to be 4 percent. Improved B12 status was significantly associated with supplementation use prior to admission.

The findings are the first step in getting an accurate estimate of B12-deficiency rates among seniors in long-term care facilities, according to the researchers. "The negative effects of a B12 deficiency for an at-risk community such as elderly adults in long-term care should be a vital concern for policy makers, staff and leadership at long-term care homes, as well as provincial and federal health departments, and warrants consideration of mandatory B12 screening at admission," study author Heather Keller, Ph.D., research chair of nutrition and aging at the University of Waterloo in Canada, said in a journal news release.

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