Objective(s): Incidence of neurocognitive and psychological disorders may be related to serum homocystein (Hcy), cobalamin (vitamin B12) and folate levels in old people. The aim of this study was to assess the relation between Hcy, cobalamin, folate and neurocognitive and/or psychological disorders in the elderly.
Materials and Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 280 subjects with ≥ 65 years old ,were evaluated. The subjects were selected from 12 regions of Mashhad, Iran, over March to October 2009. After blood sampling, data were collected by questionnaire, face to face interview and performing neurocognitive and psychological tests. The sera of 250 persons were analyzed for cobalamin and folate by RIA method. Amongst the aforementioned samples, 78 cases with cobalamin <300 pg/ml and folate <6.5 ng/ml were analyzed for Hcy by ELISA method.
Results: Amongst the people, 126 (45%) were male and 154 (55%) were female. The prevalence of hyperhomocysteinemia (HHcy) was 59.5% and 37.1% in male and female respectively (P -value =0.049). Hcy inversely correlated to cobalamin (r=-0.282, P=0.014) and to folate (r=-0.203, P=0.014). Hcy, cobalamin and folate correlations to neurocognitive and psychological impairments were not statically significant.
Conclusion: Hyper Hcy or low cobalamin and folate in the elderly, are prevalent but their relationships with neurocognitive and psychological impairments is controversial. If these relationships had been confirmed, performing a single serum Hcy or cobalamin test would have been enough enough to diagnose and prevent neurocognitive impairments and inversely, neurocognitive-psychological sign and symptoms could have meant probable tissue vitamin deficiencies. However methods of assessing neurocognitive and psychological markers with validity and reliability of clinical and laboratory tests for finding aforementioned relationships should be revised.