According to the authors of the latest study, “Evidence suggests that serum folate deficiency increases the likelihood of deficits in cognitive performance and neurological functioning.”
Medical News Today’s recent article entitled “Low folate levels associated with dementia and mortality” reports it may follow that folate deficiency might impact dementia risk. However, observational studies looking for a potential relationship have so far found conflicting results.
Researchers from the United States and Israel recently performed a large cohort study to investigate further. They found that serum folate deficiency does correlate with both dementia risk and all-cause mortality.
Their findings appear in the journal Evidence-Based Mental Health.
The researchers examined the medical records of 27,188 people ages 60–75 years. These individuals did not have any preexisting dementia for at least a decade prior to having their blood folate levels checked. The researchers monitored records for a dementia diagnosis or death. Roughly 13% of the participants had serum folate levels below 4.4 nanograms per milliliter—indicating folate deficiency.
Among the those with insufficient amounts of folate, the rates of dementia were 3.4%. The rates of death from any cause came in just under 8%.
The participants without the deficiency saw rates of dementia of 3.2%, and the all-cause death rates amounted to almost 4%.
After factoring in co-occurring conditions, such as diabetes, vitamin B12 deficiency, cognitive decline, and depression, the researchers linked folate deficiency with a 68% higher risk of a dementia diagnosis.
They found that the participants with folate deficiency had three times the risk of dying from any cause.
Anat Rotstein, Ph.D., a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, was the study’s lead author. In an interview with Medical News Today, she talked about the significance of this work.
“This study is important because it critically characterizes the association between a widely used and simple-to-measure biomarker serum folate (vitamin B9 in the blood) and the risks of dementia and all-cause mortality.”
“It is the first study of serum folate and the risk of dementia to consider two key methodological artifacts: mortality precludes dementia, and reverse causation,” she continued.
“Hence, our study provides the best evidence to date regarding the association between serum folate deficiency and all-cause mortality.”
Reference: Medical News Today (March 21, 2022) “Low folate levels associated with dementia and mortality”
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