Editor’s note: Promising research published January 8, 2007 shows that adequate levels of vitamin D in the elderly are important to maintain cognitive function or thinking skills that include use of language, awareness, social skills, math ability, memory, reasoning, judgment, intellect, learning, and imagination. This study is called a retrospective review because the researchers did not actually examine anyone. Instead they reviewed data from records of 32 older adults who had been examined for memory problems. Only the records of patients who had blood level results of vitamin D (serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D) and vitamin B12 and who also had undergone a mini-mental state examination (MMSE) were used. The MMSE is a standardized, commonly used tool to quantify an individual’s cognitive ability. The patients who scored higher on the MMSE also had higher levels of vitamin D in their blood.
"Is Vitamin D Important for Preserving Cognition? A Positive Correlation of Serum"
Researchers: Przybelski RJ, Binkley NC
School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2870 University Avenue, Suite 100, Madison, WI 53705, USA.
Objective: This study investigates the association of vitamin D status with cognitive function and discusses potential mechanisms for such an effect. The relationship of vitamin B12 with cognition was also assessed.
Design: A retrospective review of older adults presenting to a university-affiliated clinic providing consultative assessments for memory problems was performed. Charts of all patients presenting for initial visits were reviewed to identify those who had serum vitamin D, vitamin B12, and mini-mental state examination score (MMSE) all obtained on their first visit.
Correlation analyses between MMSE and vitamin D and vitamin B12 levels were performed. Serum vitamin D concentration and MMSE showed a positive correlation; no correlation was observed between serum B12 concentration and MMSE.
Conclusion: The positive, significant correlation between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration and MMSE in these patients suggests a potential role for vitamin D in cognitive function of older adults.