ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture Cuts Dry Mouth in Cancer Patients
Traditional Chinese Therapy May Help Ease Eczema
Needling Away Your Headaches With Acupuncture
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Beware of Dog Bites
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Gene Plays Key Role in Clubfoot
Scientists Discover How Osteoarthritis Destroys Cartilage
B Cells Can Act Alone in Autoimmune Diseases
CANCER
Hypnosis Cuts Hot Flashes for Breast Cancer Survivors
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
CAREGIVING
Hospital Practices Influence Which Moms Will Breast-Feed
Tainted China Formula Caused High Rate of Kidney Stones in Kids
ER Less Likely to Diagnose Stroke in Younger Folks
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
COSMETIC
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
DENTAL, ORAL
Holistic Dentistry-My View
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
DIABETES
Patients' Photos Help Boost Radiologists' Accuracy
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
DIET, NUTRITION
Diet, Exercise May Slow Kidney Disease Progression
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
The Food Irradiation Story
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Walkable Neighborhoods Keep the Pounds Off
Most Mt. Everest Deaths Occur Near Summit During Descent
Gene Explains How High-Fructose Diets Lead to Insulin Resistance
EYE CARE, VISION
Diabetic Eye Disease Rates Soaring
Don't Lose Sight of Halloween Safety
Unconscious Learning: In the Eye of the Beholder?
FITNESS
Exercise Key Player in Knee Replacement Recovery
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
Maximize Your Run
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
Fructose Boosts Blood Pressure, Studies Find
It Pays to Eat Less as You Age
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Omega-3, Some Omega-6 Fatty Acids Boost Cardiovascular Health
Polyunsaturated Fats Really May Lower Heart Risk
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Working Intensely Early on May Help Autistic Kids
Exercise Eases Obesity and Anger in Kids
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
MENTAL HEALTH
Drink Away Dementia?
Worries About Weight Are Tied to Teen Suicide Tries
17 Ways to Create the Perfect Workday
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
SENIORS
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
The Healthy Habits of Centenarians
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
Calcium Helps Ward Off Colon Cancer
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

Copyright 2008 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.

More articles at www.eholistic.com