Elevated plasma homocysteine concentration in elderly patients with mental illness is mainly related to the presence of vascular disease and not the diagnosis.Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2007; 24(3):162-8.DG
Plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) is often elevated in patients with mental illness. Since patients with mental illness and vascular disease exhibit a higher plasma tHcy concentration than patients without vascular disease, it is possible that elevated plasma tHcy in mental illness is mainly due to concomitant vascular disease.
We have investigated plasma tHcy, cobalamin/folate status, renal function and the presence of vascular disease in patients with vascular dementia (VaD, n = 501), Alzheimer's disease (AD, n = 300), depression (n = 259) and in healthy subjects (n = 144) stratified according to age (below and above 75 years).
Plasma tHcy concentration showed the highest increase in patients with VaD compared to patients with AD or depression. After the exclusion of patients with cobalamin/folate deficiencies and increased serum creatinine, patients with AD or depression above 75 years with vascular disease showed a similar elevation of plasma tHcy concentration as patients with VaD. Furthermore, patients with AD and depression without vascular disease showed a similar plasma tHcy concentration to healthy subjects.
The findings imply that elevated plasma tHcy concentration in elderly patients with mental illness is mainly associated with the presence of vascular disease and is not related to the specific psychogeriatric diagnosis.