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Int Psychogeriatr. 2009 Feb;21(1):138-47. doi: 10.1017/S1041610208007904. Epub 2008 Oct 17.

Cognitive and psychiatric effects of vitamin B12 replacement in dementia with low serum B12 levels: a nursing home study.

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  • 1Azheimer's Disease Research Unit, Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06510, USA.



The aim of this study is to determine whether B12 replacement would ameliorate cognitive and psychiatric symptoms in elderly subjects with dementia and low serum B12 levels.


A test group (n = 28) of nursing home residents with low serum B12 levels (<250 pg/mL) and a matched comparison group (n = 28) with normal serum B12 levels (>300 pg/mL) were evaluated by blinded raters while the test group received intramuscular (IM) B12 replacement therapy. All subjects were assessed at baseline, 8 weeks, and 16 weeks with the Dementia Rating Scale, Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale, and Geriatric Depression Scale.


Although B12 replacement produced significant improvement in hematologic and metabolic parameters, it yielded no significant effect on cognitive or psychiatric variables. A few subjects evidenced notable individual treatment responses; however, these were not statistically more frequent than in the normal B12 group.


These results suggest that B12 replacement is unlikely to benefit cognitive or psychiatric symptoms in the vast majority of elderly dementia patients with low serum B12 levels.

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