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Age Ageing. 2000 Mar;29(2):111-6.

Is thiamine deficiency in elderly people related to age or co-morbidity?

Author information

1
Department of Health Care of the Elderly, The Princess Margaret Hospital, Christchurch, New Zealand. tim.wilkinson@chmeds.ac.nz

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

to compare erythrocyte thiamine pyrophosphate concentrations in elderly people with those in healthy younger people; to determine if any differences can be attributed to age or to co-morbidities.

DESIGN:

cross-sectional and 3-year longitudinal surveys.

SETTING:

primary care.

PATIENTS:

100 volunteer blood donors and 222 elderly people from a general practice register.

MEASUREMENTS:

thiamine pyrophosphate concentrations using high performance liquid chromatography; physical examination, medical and medication history; grip strength, body mass index and plasma albumin.

RESULTS:

the mean [95% confidence interval (CI)] thiamine pyrophosphate concentration was 152 nmol/l (147-158) in the elderly group and 224 (213-235) nmol/l in the younger group (P < 0.001). Ninety-six (43.4%) of the elderly subjects had thiamine pyrophosphate concentrations below the fifth percentile of the younger subjects (140 nmol/l). Over 3 years thiamine pyrophosphate concentrations fell in the elderly cohort by 20% (95% CI: 14.5-24.5%; P < 0.01). Thiamine pyrophosphate concentrations in 39 healthy older people were no different from those in elderly people with co-morbidity but were significantly lower than those in the younger people. Elderly people with absent vibration sense in their feet had a lower thiamine pyrophosphate concentration than the rest of the group [129 (117-142)nmol/l compared with 156 (150-162)nmol/l; P < 0.01)]. Thiamine pyrophosphate concentrations were not related to prevalent diseases, common medications, body mass index, grip strength or plasma albumin.

CONCLUSION:

lower thiamine pyrophosphate concentrations in elderly people appear to be related more to age itself than to co-existent illnesses.

Comment in

PMID:
10791444
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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