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Studies: Vitamin D boosts womenís cognitive health

Friday November 30, 2012
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Vitamin D may be a vital component for the cognitive health of women as they age, according to a pair of studies.

Higher vitamin D dietary intake is associated with a lower risk of developing Alzheimerís disease, according to research conducted by a team led by Cedric Annweiler, MD, PhD, at the Angers University Hospital in France.

And investigators led by Yelena Slinin, MD, MS, at the VA Medical Center in Minneapolis found that low vitamin D levels among older women are associated with a higher risk of global cognitive impairment and global cognitive decline.

Both studies have been published in the Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences.

Slininís group based its analysis (see the study abstract at http://biomedgerontology.oxfordjournals.org/content/67/10/1092.abstract) on 6,257 community-dwelling older women who had vitamin D levels measured during the Study of Osteopathic Fractures and whose cognitive function was tested by the Mini-Mental State Examination and/or Trail Making Test Part B.

Very low levels of vitamin D (less than 10 nanograms per milliliter of blood serum) among older women were associated with higher odds of global cognitive impairment at baseline, and low vitamin D levels (less than 20 ng/ml) among cognitively-impaired women were associated with a higher risk of incident global cognitive decline, as measured by performance on the Mini-Mental State Examination.

Annweielerís teamís findings (see the study abstract at http://biomedgerontology.oxfordjournals.org/content/67/11/1205.abstract) were based on data from 498 community-dwelling women who participated in the Toulouse cohort of the Epidemiology of Osteoporosis study.

Among this population, women who developed Alzheimerís disease had lower baseline vitamin D intakes (an average of 50.3 micrograms per week) than those who developed other forms of dementia (an average of 63.6 micrograms per week) or no dementia at all (an average of 59 micrograms per week).


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