HOMOCYSTEINE AND ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE*
"An increased plasma homocysteine level is a strong, independent risk factor for the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease."* This association occurred independently of the age and sex and other possible risk characteristics of the participants in the study by Dr. Sudha Seshadri and colleagues, all from cooperating hospitals and universities in Boston, Massachusetts. The doctors used data from the "Framingham Study," in which individuals "have been evaluated biennially since 1948." First, they chose 2611 people, who were dementia-free at the "20th biennial examination (between 1986 and 1990)," of these 1092 had total homocysteine levels measured and constituted the sample studied. Their average age was 76 years, ranging from 68 to 97, with 667 women and 425 men.
Since these people were part of such a long-term, careful study, it was known that they were free of dementia even eight years before the "baseline" for the new study, which was at the "20th biennial examination." Thus, the researchers were able to find that "the elevation of the plasma homocysteine level occurred well before the onset of clinical manifestations." Thus, we in NOHA can watch for this symptom and take action nutritionally.
See the fascinating article by NOHA Professional Advisory Member John W. Crayton, MD, in NOHA NEWS, Winter 1998, "THE RISK OF VASCULAR ILLNESS: CONVERGENCE OF NUTRITIONAL AND MENTAL FACTORS," in which he deals with the effects of high homocysteine and its control with nutrition.
We recall the lecture and book, Detoxification and Healing by NOHA Honorary Member Sidney M. Baker, MD (NOHA NEWS, Fall 1998) in which he spells out the metabolism of the essential amino acid methionine, which involves the production of homocysteine.
*Seshadri, Sudha, et al, "Plasma Homocysteine as a Risk Factor for Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease," The New England Journal of Medicine, 346 (7): 476-83, February 14, 2002.
Article from NOHA NEWS, Vol. XXVII, No. 2, Spring 2002, page 6.