Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Low vitamin B12 levels may lead to brain shrinkage, cognitive problems

Date:
September 27, 2011
Source:
Rush University Medical Center
Summary:
Older people with low blood levels of vitamin B12 markers may be more likely to have lower brain volumes and have problems with their thinking skills, according to researchers.

Older people with low blood levels of vitamin B12 markers may be more likely to have lower brain volumes and have problems with their thinking skills, according to researchers at Rush University Medical Center.

The results of the study are published in the Sept. 27 issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Foods that come from animals, including fish, meat, especially liver, milk, eggs and poultry are usual sources of vitamin B12.

The study involved 121 older residents of the South side of Chicago who are a part of the Chicago Health and Aging Project (CHAP), which is a large, ongoing prospective Rush a biracial cohort of 10,000 subjects over the age of 65.

The 121 participants had blood drawn to measure levels of vitamin B12 and B12-related markers that can indicate a B12 deficiency. The same subjects took tests measuring their memory and other cognitive skills.

An average of four-and-a-half years later, MRI scans of the participants' brains were taken to measure total brain volume and look for other signs of brain damage.

Having high levels of four of five markers for vitamin B12 deficiency was associated with having lower scores on the cognitive tests and smaller total brain volume.

"Our findings definitely deserve further examination," said Christine C. Tangney, PhD, associate professor in the department of clinical nutrition at Rush University Medical Center, and lead author of the study. "It's too early to say whether increasing vitamin B12 levels in older people through diet or supplements could prevent these problems, but it is an interesting question to explore. Findings from a British trial with B vitamin supplementation are also supportive of these outcomes."

On the cognitive tests, the scores ranged from -2.18 to 1.42, with an average of 0.23. For each increase of one micromole per liter of homocysteine -- one of the markers of B12 deficiency -- the cognitive scores decreasedby 0.03 standardized units or points.

Tangney noted that the level of vitamin B12 itself in the blood was not associated with cognitive problems or loss in brain volume. She said that low vitamin B12 can be difficult to detect in older people when looking only at blood levels of the vitamin.

"Our findings lend support for the contention that poor vitamin B12 status is a potential risk factor for brain atrophy and may contribute to cognitive impairment," said Tangney.

Other researchers at Rush involved in the study were Dr. Neelum T. Aggarwal, Hong Li, Robert S. Wilson, PhD, Dr. Denis Evans and Martha Clare Morris, ScD.

The study was supported by the National Institute on Aging.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rush University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. C. C. Tangney, N. T. Aggarwal, H. Li, R. S. Wilson, C. DeCarli, D. A. Evans, M. C. Morris. Vitamin B12, cognition, and brain MRI measures: A cross-sectional examination. Neurology, 2011; 77 (13): 1276 DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182315a33

Cite This Page:

Rush University Medical Center. "Low vitamin B12 levels may lead to brain shrinkage, cognitive problems." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110926165852.htm>.
Rush University Medical Center. (2011, September 27). Low vitamin B12 levels may lead to brain shrinkage, cognitive problems. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110926165852.htm
Rush University Medical Center. "Low vitamin B12 levels may lead to brain shrinkage, cognitive problems." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110926165852.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) Stepping up their vigilance against Ebola, federal authorities said Wednesday that everyone traveling into the US from Ebola-stricken nations will be monitored for symptoms for 21 days. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

AFP (Oct. 22, 2014) Polish doctors describe how they helped a paralysed man walk again, with the patient in disbelief at the return of sensation to his legs. Duration: 1:04 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins