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Low Folate Predicts Dementia in Elderly

Changes in folate, vitamin B12 and homocysteine also predict dementia

TUESDAY, Feb. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Low serum folate, as well as changes in folate, vitamin B12 and homocysteine, predict dementia in elderly individuals, according to a report published online Feb. 5 in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry.

Jae-Min Kim, M.D., Ph.D., from Chonnam National University Medical School in Kwangju, Republic of Korea, and colleagues measured serum folate, vitamin B12 and homocysteine in 518 elderly patients at baseline and over a 2.4-year period.

The researchers found that 45 individuals developed dementia. Only lower folate concentrations at baseline predicted incident dementia. Relative declines in folate and vitamin B12 concentrations and relative increases in homocysteine concentrations over the follow-up period predicted the onset of dementia, although these associations were reduced after adjusting for weight changes.

"Incident dementia is more strongly associated with changes in folate, vitamin B12 and homocysteine than with previous concentrations," Kim and colleagues conclude. "These changes may be linked to other somatic manifestations of early dementia, such as weight loss."

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