Journal of Neural Transmission

, Volume 113, Issue 3, pp 357–363 | Cite as

Short-term cognition deficits during early alcohol withdrawal are associated with elevated plasma homocysteine levels in patients with alcoholism

  • J. Wilhelm
  • K. Bayerlein
  • T. Hillemacher
  • U. Reulbach
  • H. Frieling
  • B. Kromolan
  • D. Degner
  • J. Kornhuber
  • S. Bleich
Article

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 χ2 = 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. 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Wilhelm
    • 1
  • K. Bayerlein
    • 1
  • T. Hillemacher
    • 1
  • U. Reulbach
    • 1
  • H. Frieling
    • 1
  • B. Kromolan
    • 1
  • D. Degner
    • 2
  • J. Kornhuber
    • 1
  • S. Bleich
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and PsychotherapyUniversity of Erlangen-NurembergGermany
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and PsychotherapyUniversity of GöttingenGermany

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