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Relations of vitamin B-12, vitamin B-6, folate, and homocysteine to cognitive performance in the Normative Aging Study.

We investigated the relations between plasma concentrations of homocysteine and vitamins B-12 and B-6 and folate, and scores from a battery of cognitive tests for 70 male subjects, aged 54-81 y, in the Normative Aging Study. Lower concentrations of vitamin B-12 (P=0.04) and folate (P=0.003) and higher concentrations of homocysteine (P=0.0009 ) were associated with poorer spatial copying skills.

Plasma homocysteine was a stronger predictor of spatial copying performance than either vitamin B-12 or folate. The association of homocysteine with spatial copying performance was not explained by clinical diagnoses of vascular disease. Higher concentrations of vitamin B-6 were related to better performance on two measures of memory (P=0.03 and P=0.05).

The results suggest that vitamins (and homocysteine) may have differential effects on cognitive abilities. Individual vitamins and homocysteine should be explored further as determinants of patterns of cognitive impairment.

Published on 05-31-2006