Individuals with advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end stage renal disease (ESRD) have high total plasma homocysteine (tHcy) levels, which may be a risk factor for cognitive impairment. Whether treatment with high dose B-vitamins to reduce high tHcy levels improves cognition in persons with kidney disease is unknown.
Randomized controlled trial.
Setting & Participants
A substudy of 659 patients (mean age 67.3 ± 11.7 years) who participated in a randomized, double-blind, clinical trial, 5 years in duration, conducted in 36 US Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers, of the effect on all-cause mortality of vitamin-induced lowering of plasma tHcy. 236 (35.8%) were treated by dialysis (ESRD) and 423 (64.2%) had a Cockcroft-Gault estimated creatinine clearance ≤ 30 ml/min (advanced CKD). All had high tHcy levels (≥15 μmol/L) at baseline. Cognitive assessments began during the follow up period of the main trial, 3 years after treatment began; participants were subsequently retested one year later to assess cognitive change.
Daily high dose B-vitamin capsule (40 mg of folic acid, 100 mg of vitamin B6, and 2 mg of vitamin B12) or placebo.
Cognitive function at initial assessment and one year later.
The Telephone Interview of Cognitive Status – modified, supplemented with attention, working memory and executive function tests.
Initial cognitive function was impaired in approximately 19% of patients, regardless of treatment assignment (vitamin or placebo) or kidney disease status (advanced CKD or ESRD). Treatment reduced tHcy levels by 26.7%. Unadjusted and adjusted analyses showed that treatment did not improve initial cognitive outcomes or affect subsequent cognitive status one year later.
Cognitive assessments began after treatment was initiated; cognitive assessment was limited.
Treatment with high daily doses of B-vitamins, which reduced tHcy levels, did not affect cognitive outcomes in patients with advanced CKD and ESRD.