Source: Int J Geriatr Psychiatry, July 21, 2011; Epub Ahead of Print.
Research: In this double-blind, single-center study, 266 participants with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), ages 70 and older, were randomly assigned to receive a daily dose of 0.8 mg folic acid, 0.5 mg vitamin B(12) and 20 mg vitamin B(6) or placebo for 2 years. Changes in cognitive or clinical function were analyzed by generalized linear models or mixed-effects models.
Results: The mean plasma total homocysteine was 30% lower in those treated with B vitamins relative to placebo. B vitamins stabilized executive function (CLOX) relative to placebo. There was significant benefit of B vitamin treatment among participants with baseline homocysteine above the median (11.3 µmol/L) in global cognition (Mini Mental State Examination), episodic memory (Hopkins Verbal Learning Test-delayed recall) and semantic memory (category fluency). Clinical benefit occurred in the B vitamin group for those in the upper quartile of homocysteine at baseline in global clinical dementia rating score and IQCODE score. In this small intervention trial, researchers said B vitamins appeared to slow cognitive and clinical decline in people with MCI, in particular in those with elevated homocysteine. Further trials are needed to see if this treatment will slow or prevent conversion from MCI to dementia.