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Vitamin B12 Key to Aging Brain
Date:9/8/2008

mal B12 levels, yet there was a difference between the higher levels and the lower levels in terms of brain shrinkage, which is new information which could potentially change what we recommend to people in terms of diet," said Dr. Jonathan Friedman, an associate professor of surgery and neuroscience and experimental therapeutics at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine and associate dean of the College of Medicine, Bryan-College Station campus.

Other risk factors for brain atrophy include high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol.

Not only might B12 levels be a modifiable risk factor for cognitive decline, it might also be a clue to help clinicians assess cognitive problems earlier on.

Right now, it's not clear what the biological mechanisms behind the link might be, nor is it clear whether added B12 would avert brain atrophy.

"We are doing a clinical trial in Oxford in which we are giving B vitamins [including B12] to elderly people with memory impairment," Vogiatzoglou said. "In this trial, we are doing MRI scans at the start and the end, and so, we will be able to find out if taking B vitamins really does slow down the shrinking of the brain. The trial will be completed in 2009."

More information

Learn more about vitamin B-12 at the National Institutes of Health.



SOURCES: Anna Vogiatzoglou, R.D., doctoral candidate, department of physiology, anatomy and genetics, University of Oxford, England; Jonathan Friedman, M.D., associate professor, surgery and neuroscience and experimental therapeutics, Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, and associate dean, College of Medicine, Bryan-College Station campus, and director, Texas Brain and Spine Institute, College Station; Shari Midoneck, M.D., associate clinical professor, medicine, Weill Cornell
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