THURSDAY, March 17, 2022 (HealthDay News) — The presence of serum folate deficiency is associated with dementia and all-cause mortality among older adults, although there is evidence of reverse causation, according to a study published online March 15 in Evidence-Based Mental Health.

Anat Rotstein, Ph.D., from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, and colleagues examined the associations between serum folate deficiency and the risks for incident dementia and all-cause mortality among a cohort of 27,188 adults aged 60 to 75 years without preexisting dementia.

The researchers found that compared with its absence, the presence of serum folate deficiency (<4.4 ng/mL) was associated with an increased risk for dementia and all-cause mortality (hazard ratios, 1.68 and 2.98, respectively). Moderate and mild evidence was seen for reverse causation for dementia and all-cause mortality, respectively.

“Serum concentrations of folate may function as a biomarker used to modify the risks of dementia and mortality in old age,” the authors write. “The implications for public health policy appear to be to reliably monitor serum concentrations of folate in older adults and treat deficiency for preventative measures and/or as part of implemented therapeutic strategies while regularly reviewing patients’ clinical outcomes.”

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