ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
Awareness of Alternative Therapies May Be Lacking
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Childhood Dairy Intake Boosts Bone Health Later On
Exercise Key Player in Knee Replacement Recovery
Scientists ID New Genes Tied to Crohn's Disease
CANCER
Green Tea May Help Prevent Oral Cancer
Smokeout '08: The Perfect Time to Quit
Healthy Behaviors Slow Functional Decline After Cancer
CAREGIVING
Health Tip: Benefitting From Adult Day Care
Distance No Bar to Kidney Transplants in Remote Areas
Transition From Home to Hospital Rarely Seamless
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Support Network May Play Role in Benefits of Drinking
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
COSMETIC
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
Health Tip: After Liposuction
DENTAL, ORAL
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
DIABETES
Poor Blood Sugar Control After Heart Surgery Impacts Outcomes
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Compound in Red Wine Fights Ravages of Age
Low Vitamin D Levels May Initiate Cancer Development
Dark Chocolate May Lower Stroke Risk
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Hypertension May Hit Black Males Earlier
Ozone Pollution Taking Toll on American Lives
Dementia Underestimated in Developing Countries
EYE CARE, VISION
Glaucoma Treatment Can Prevent Blindness
High Temps Degrade Contact Lens Solution: Study
Clues Found to Brain Mechanism Behind Migraines
FITNESS
Exercise Guards White Blood Cells Against Aging
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
You Can Get Great Exercise In The Garden
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
Have Fun This Summer, But DO Be Careful
FDA Bans Unapproved Prescription Cough, Cold and Allergy Meds
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Coffee Is Generally Heart-Friendly
Lack of Vitamin D Linked to High Blood Pressure
Fewer Heart Attacks After England Goes Smoke-Free
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
Music May Temper Pain in Preemies
Plastics Chemical Tied to Aggression in Young Girls
MEN'S HEALTH
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
MENTAL HEALTH
Reminiscing Helps Build Emotional Strength
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Worries About Weight Are Tied to Teen Suicide Tries
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
SENIORS
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Protein Deposits May Show Up Before Memory Problems Occur, Study Says
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
For Women, Moderate Midlife Drinking Linked to Healthier Old Age
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Add your Article

Vitamin B12 Key to Aging Brain

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Sept. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Older individuals with low levels of vitamin B12 seem to be at increased risk of having brain atrophy or shrinkage, new research suggests.

Brain atrophy is associated with Alzheimer's disease and impaired cognitive function.

Although the study, published in the Sept. 8 issue of Neurology, can't confirm that lower levels of B12 actually cause brain atrophy, they do suggest that "we ought to be more aware of our B12 status, especially people who are vulnerable to B12 deficiency [elderly, vegetarians, pregnant and lactating women, infants], and take steps to maintain it by eating a balanced and varied diet," said study co-author Anna Vogiatzoglou, a registered dietician and doctoral candidate in the department of physiology, anatomy and genetics at the University of Oxford, in England.

"It's worth looking at B12 levels. It's a simple blood test," affirmed Dr. Shari Midoneck, an internist at the Iris Cantor Women's Health Center in New York City. "It doesn't hurt to take B12."

Good sources of the vitamin include meat, fish, milk and fortified cereals.

According to the study authors, vitamin B12 deficiency is a public health problem, especially among older people.

This study involved 107 volunteers aged 61 to 87 who were cognitively normal at the beginning of the study. All participants underwent annual clinical exams, MRI scans and cognitive tests and had blood samples taken.

Individuals with lower vitamin B12 levels at the start of the study had a greater decrease in brain volume. Those with the lowest B12 levels had a sixfold greater rate of brain volume loss compared with those who had the highest levels of the vitamin.

Interestingly, none of the participants were deficient in vitamin B12, they just had low levels within a normal range.

"They all had normal B12 levels, yet there was a difference between the higher levels and the lower levels in terms of brain shrinkage, which is new information which could potentially change what we recommend to people in terms of diet," said Dr. Jonathan Friedman, an associate professor of surgery and neuroscience and experimental therapeutics at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine and associate dean of the College of Medicine, Bryan-College Station campus.

Other risk factors for brain atrophy include high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol.

Not only might B12 levels be a modifiable risk factor for cognitive decline, it might also be a clue to help clinicians assess cognitive problems earlier on.

Right now, it's not clear what the biological mechanisms behind the link might be, nor is it clear whether added B12 would avert brain atrophy.

"We are doing a clinical trial in Oxford in which we are giving B vitamins [including B12] to elderly people with memory impairment," Vogiatzoglou said. "In this trial, we are doing MRI scans at the start and the end, and so, we will be able to find out if taking B vitamins really does slow down the shrinking of the brain. The trial will be completed in 2009."

More information

Learn more about vitamin B-12 at the National Institutes of Health.



SOURCES: Anna Vogiatzoglou, R.D., doctoral candidate, department of physiology, anatomy and genetics, University of Oxford, England; Jonathan Friedman, M.D., associate professor, surgery and neuroscience and experimental therapeutics, Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, and associate dean, College of Medicine, Bryan-College Station campus, and director, Texas Brain and Spine Institute, College Station; Shari Midoneck, M.D., associate clinical professor, medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, and internist, Iris Cantor Women's Health Center, New York City; Sept. 8, 2008, Neurology

Last Updated: Sept. 08, 2008

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