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J Nutr Health Aging. 2002;6(1):43-50.

Five year changes in mental health and associations with vitamin B12/folate status of elderly Europeans.

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  • 1Wageningen University, Division of Human Nutrition and Epidemiology, The Netherlands.



To describe 5-year changes of mental health in SENECA participants, and to examine whether mental health is associated with the status of vitamin B12 and folate.


A longitudinal, multicentre study including a Baseline study, a Follow-up study, and a Finale study.


Inhabitants of 11 European towns, born between 1913 and 1918, were randomly selected at baseline to participate in the SENECA study. Of the 1099 enrolled subjects in the Follow-up study, 586 participated in the Finale study.


Mental health status was assessed by the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE, cognitive impairment defined as MMSE<23) and the 15-item Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS, depression defined as GDS>5).


In the Finale study, mean overall MMSE score was 26.1 for men and 25.6 for women, while mean overall GDS score was 3.1 for men and 4.1 for women. Among subjects that participated in both the Follow-up and the Finale study, MMSE scores decreased with 0.9 points (P<0.0001) and 1.0 points (P<0.0001) among men and women respectively. The GDS scores decreased with 0.7 points (P<0.0001) for men and 0.8 points (P<0.0001) for women. Among subjects that participated in the Finale study, no significant correlations have been observed between mental health and vitamin B12/folate status.


In the Finale study, mental health of the majority of the SENECA participants remained intact. In contrast to the Follow-up study, no associations between mental health and vitamin B12/folate status were emerged.

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