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J Nutr Health Aging. 2017;21(9):1065-1071. doi: 10.1007/s12603-017-0979-z.

High Serum Folate Is Associated with Brain Atrophy in Older Diabetic People with Vitamin B12 Deficiency.

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Timothy Kwok, Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, Prince of Wales Hospital, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China, Tel: +852-26323145, Email:; Defeng Wang, Department of Imaging and Interventional Radiology, Prince of Wales Hospital, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China, Tel: +852- 26975027, Email:


Previous studies have reported the adverse cognitive effects of high folate status in older individuals with vitamin B12 (VB12) deficiency. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate how high serum folate and VB12 deficiency could collaboratively aggravate neuronal degeneration. In total, 146 older non-demented diabetic individuals with an average age of 75 ± 3.9 were recruited. VB12 deficiency and high folate status were based on high serum methylmalonic acid (MMA) concentrations (> 0.3 μmol/L) and the serum folate concentration being in the top tertile (> 31.4 nmol/L) respectively. Among these subjects, there were 20 with elevated MMA and high folate. The structural magnetic resonance imaging data of these subjects were analyzed by performing flexible factorial analysis with the "folate level" and "MMA level" added as main effects, and the interaction effect of folate and VB12 on brain volume was evaluated. The results showed significant gray matter atrophy of the right middle occipital gyrus and the opercular part of the inferior frontal gyrus in subjects with a simultaneous high folate status and VB12 deficiency. Together with previous observational studies on cognitive function, this study lends support to the notion that high serum folate concentrations in older people with VB12 deficiency may be associated with increased neurodegeneration.


Vitamin B12; folate; magnetic resonance imaging; methylmalonic acid; older people

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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