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Open Access Case Report

Homocysteine and cognitive impairment; a case series in a General Practice setting

Andrew McCaddon

Author affiliations

Honorary Research Fellow, Wales College of Medicine, Wrexham, Uk

Citation and License

Nutrition Journal 2006, 5:6  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-5-6

Published: 15 February 2006

Abstract

Background

An elevated blood level of homocysteine is a risk factor for cognitive impairment and dementia. Homocysteine can be lowered by folate and/or vitamin B12 supplementation; antioxidants might also be required for optimal reduction in neurovascular tissue. This report presents clinical and radiological findings from administering the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine together with B vitamins to cognitively impaired patients with hyperhomocysteinaemia.

Methods

A case series (n = 7) performed in a semi-rural General Practice setting. Formal cognitive assessments were performed in five patients, and radiological assessments in one patient, before and after supplementation.

Results and discussion

The addition of N-acetylcysteine resulted in subjective clinical improvement in all patients, and an objective improvement in cognitive scores in five patients. One patient had radiological evidence of halted disease progression over a twelve month period.

Conclusion

N-acetylcysteine, together with B vitamin supplements, improves cognitive status in hyperhomocysteinaemic patients. Randomized controlled clinical trials are required to formally evaluate this treatment approach.