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.

Related Articles


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 March 28, 2015 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 March 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

AFP (Mar. 28, 2015) — Sierra Leone imposed a three-day nationwide lockdown Friday for the second time in six months in a bid to prevent a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus. Duration: 01:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) — A popular class of antibiotic can leave patients in severe pain and even result in permanent nerve damage. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WH Plan to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Germs

WH Plan to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Germs

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) — The White House on Friday announced a five-year plan to fight the threat posed by antibiotic-resistant bacteria amid fears that once-treatable germs could become deadly. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) — In rare bipartisan harmony, congressional leaders pushed a $214 billion bill permanently blocking physician Medicare cuts toward House passage Thursday, moving lawmakers closer to resolving a problem that has plagued them for years. (March 26) Video provided by AP
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