Lead researchers: Professor Robin Jacoby, Professor A David Smith, Professor Helga Refsum
Elevated blood concentrations of total homocysteine and low-normal concentrations of B vitamins (folate, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6) are candidate risk factors for both Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. Raised plasma total homocysteine is a strong prognostic marker of future cognitive decline. Low-normal concentrations of the B vitamins, the main determinant of homocysteine concentrations occur in particularly vulnerable sections of the population, such as infants and the elderly.
VITACOG, a two-year randomised, placebo-controlled pilot trial, was developed to determine the effect of treatment (vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid) on the rate of shrinkage of the brain and on memory function in people over 70 years with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). It will also determine the effectiveness of recruitment procedure, proportion of participants responding biochemically to treatment as predicted, acceptability of cognitive tests and within-person variability for future power calculations.
Participants had neuropsychological assessments, MRI brain imaging, blood and urine tests and examination of vital signs (heart rate and blood pressure). To-date all participants have completed the trial, which is now in a phase of analysis.