Short-term cognition deficits during early alcohol withdrawal are associated with elevated plasma homocysteine levels in patients with alcoholism
First Online: 06 July 2005 Received: 18 September 2004 Accepted: 05 May 2005 DOI:
Cite this article as: Wilhelm, J., Bayerlein, K., Hillemacher, T. et al. J Neural Transm (2006) 113: 357. doi:10.1007/s00702-005-0333-1 Summary.
Higher plasma homocysteine levels have been found in actively drinking alcoholics as well as in early abstinent patients. Furthermore, elevated homocysteine levels are associated with cognitive decline in dementia and in healthy elderly people. The aim of this prospective study was to investigate a possible association between homocysteine serum levels and clinically well known cognitive deficits during alcohol withdrawal. We examined 89 patients (67 men, 22 women) during early withdrawal treatment. Cognitive function was assessed using the c.I.-Test. Patients with cognitive deficits showed significantly higher homocysteine serum levels (Mann-Whitney-U, p = 0.004) than patients without cognitive deficits, while the difference in blood alcohol concentration was not significant. Using logistic regression analysis, cognitive deficits were best predicted by high homocysteine serum levels (Wald χ
2 = 4.071, OR = 1.043, 95% CI 1.001–1.086, p<0.05), which was confirmed by Receiver Operating Curves (AUC = 0.68, 95% CI = 0.57–0.79, p = 0.004). The present results show first evidence of an association between elevated plasma homocysteine levels in alcoholics and cognition deficits in patients undergoing alcohol withdrawal. Keywords: Homocysteine, alcohol withdrawal, alcoholism, cognition, cognitive decline. References Ahern, KB, Lustig, HS, Greenberg, DA 1994 Enhancement of NMDA toxicity and calcium responses by chronic exposure of cultured cortical neurons to ethanol. Neurosci Lett 165 211 214 PubMed Bell, IR, Edman, JS, Selhub, J, Morrow, FD, Marby, DW, Kayne, HL, Cole, JO 1992 Plasma homocysteine in vascular disease and in nonvascular dementia of depressed elderly people. 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