, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 121-126
Date: 30 Apr 2009

Total serum homocysteine levels do not identify cognitive dysfunction in multimorbid elderly patients

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Abstract

Objectives

Total blood homocysteine (Hcys) and folate levels have been investigated in association with cognitive dysfunction in healthy but not in multimorbid elderly patients. We hypothesized that total serum Hcys is an adequate marker to identify multimorbid elderly patients with cognitive dysfunction assessed by the Short Cognitive Performance Test (SKT) and Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE).

Design

Cross-sectional study.

Setting

The study center was an acute geriatric hospital.

Participants

A total of 189 multimorbid elderly patients were recruited.

Methods

Cognitive dysfunction was determined according to the SKT and MMSE. Biochemical parameters (Hcys, folate, vitamin B12, hemoglobin), nutritional status (BMI, Mini Nutritional Assessment, nutritional intake), and activities of daily living were assessed.

Results

According to the SKT, 25.4% of patients showed no cerebral cognitive dysfunction, 21.2% had suspected incipient cognitive dysfunction, 12.7% showed mild cognitive dysfunction, 9.0% had moderate cognitive dysfunction, and 31.7% of patients were demented. The median plasma Hcys value was elevated by ∼20% in multimorbid elderly patients, independent of cognitive dysfunction. Serum folate and vitamin B12 concentrations were within normal ranges. We did not find significant differences in nutritional status, activities of daily living, numbers of diseases or medications, or selected biochemical parameters between the SKT groups.

Conclusion

Elevated serum Hcys levels with normal plasma folate and vitamin B12 concentrations were observed in multimorbid elderly patients. The plasma Hcys level did not appear to be an important biological risk factor for cognitive dysfunction in multimorbid geriatric patients.