Homocysteine: A marker for cognitive performance? A longitudinal follow-up study

C. E. Teunissen, A. Henk J. Blom, M. P.J. Van Boxtel, H. Bosma, C. De Bruijn, J. Jolles, B. A. Wauters, H. W.M. Steinbusch, J. De Vente

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


The present prospective study investigated whether elevated total serum homocysteine concentration is a risk factor for cognitive decline. The outcomes were compared to the possible relation between cognition and vitamin B 12 or folic acid. Cognitive performance of 144 normal aging individuals (aged 30-80 years) was tested at baseline and after six years of follow-up. Domains of cognitive function addressed were cognitive speed (Letter-Digit Coding test), attention and information processing (Stroop test) and verbal learning and memory (Word Learning Test Total; Delayed Recall). Serum concentrations of homocysteine, folic acid and vitamin B12 were determined. Serum concentrations of homocysteine correlated negatively with cognitive performance on the Word Learning tests at baseline, independent of age, sex, education level or folic acid concentration. Homocysteine concentration at baseline correlated negatively with cognitive performance on the Stroop and Word Learning tests during the whole six-year follow-up period. The folic acid concentration correlated to the Delayed Recall test at baseline only and no correlations were observed for vitamin B12. Thus, while a relation between vitamin B12 or folic acid and cognition was almost absent, elevated homocysteine concentrations were associated with prolonged lower cognitive performance in this normal aging population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-159
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nutrition, Health and Aging
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • Aging
  • Cognition
  • Elderly
  • Folic acid
  • Homocysteine
  • Nutrition
  • Vitamin B12

Cite this