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Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (CCLM)

Published in Association with the European Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (EFLM)

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Ed. by Gillery, Philippe / Lackner, Karl J. / Lippi, Giuseppe / Melichar, Bohuslav / Payne, Deborah A. / Schlattmann, Peter / Tate, Jillian R.

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Plasma homocysteine and vascular disease in elderly patients with mental illness

Karin Nilsson1 / Lars Gustafson2 / Björn Hultberg3

1Department of Psychogeriatrics, Clinical Science, Lund University Hospital, Lund, Sweden

2Department of Psychogeriatrics, Clinical Science, Lund University Hospital, Lund, Sweden

3Department of Laboratory Medicine, Division of Clinical Chemistry, Lund University Hospital, Lund, Sweden

Corresponding author: Björn Hultberg, Institute of Laboratory Medicine, Department of Clinical Chemistry, Lund University Hospital, 22185 Lund, Sweden Phone: +46-46173447, Fax: +46-46189114,

Citation Information: Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine. Volume 46, Issue 11, Pages 1556–1561, ISSN (Online) 1437-4331, ISSN (Print) 1434-6621, DOI: 10.1515/CCLM.2008.301, October 2008

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Total plasma homocysteine (tHcy) concentration is elevated in elderly patients with mental illness compared to control subjects. There are many different determinants of plasma tHcy concentration, including the presence of vascular disease. The presence of vascular disease may contribute to cognitive impairment. Clarification of the role of vascular risk factors in mental illness is important because most are modifiable, in contrast to other risk factors, such as age and genetics. In this review, we summarize the findings of our investigations of vascular disease and plasma tHcy level in elderly patients with mental illness. Elevated plasma tHcy concentration in elderly patients with mental illness was mainly associated with the presence of vascular disease and was not related to the specific psychogeriatric diagnosis. Furthermore, it seems possible that the control of conventional vascular risk factors could be guided by the level of plasma tHcy, serum cystatin C, serum N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide, and serum C-reactive protein.

Clin Chem Lab Med 2008;46:1556–61.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; homocysteine; mental illness; vascular dementia; vascular disease

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