Brains of seniors had 60 percent more white matter abnormalities if low vitamin D – March 2015

Vitamin D and white matter abnormalities in older adults: A quantitative volumetric analysis of brain MRI

Experimental Gerontology, Volume 63, March 2015, Pages 41–47. doi:10.1016/j.exger.2015.01.049
Cédric Annweilera, b, c,, Robert Barthac, Spyridon N. Karrasd, Jennifer Gautierb, Frédéric Rochee, Olivier Beaucheta, b, f
a Department of Geriatric Medicine, Angers University Hospital; UPRES EA4638, University of Angers, UNAM, France
b Research Center on Autonomy and Longevity (CeRAL), Angers, France
c Robarts Research Institute, Department of Medical Biophysics, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, the University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada
d Unit of Reproductive Endocrinology, First Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical School, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
e Service de Physiologie Clinique et de l'Exercice, CHU Saint-Etienne; EA 4607 “SNA EPIS” Faculté de Médecine Jacques Lisfranc UJM; PRES Université de Lyon 42023, France
f Biomathics, Paris, France

  • Vitamin D, a neurosteroid hormone, is involved in neurophysiology.
  • Vitamin D insufficiency was associated with an increased volume of WMA in seniors.
  • This may explain part of cognitive and mobility disorders in this population.

Vitamin D insufficiency is associated with brain changes. Our objective was to investigate whether vitamin D insufficiency was associated with a greater volume in mm3 of white matter abnormalities (WMA) in older adults.

Seventy-five Caucasian older community-dwellers (mean, 70.9 ± 5.0 years; 48%female) received a blood test and brain MRI. The volumes of total white matter (WM) and WMA were measured from T1-weighted MR images using automatic, accurate and reproducible segmentation of the brain provided by FreeSurfer. Vitamin D insufficiency was defined a priori as serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D < 50 nmol/L. Age, gender, body mass index, mean arterial pressure, use of anti-vascular drugs, education level, Mini-Mental State Examination score, Instrumental Activities of Daily Living score, serum calcium concentration, estimated glomerular filtration rate, and season of evaluation were used as potential confounders.

Participants with vitamin D insufficiency (n = 29) had a greater volume of WMA than the others (4233 ± 4359 mm3 versus 2658 ± 1544 mm3, P = 0.028), even after normalization for WM volume (P = 0.031). Vitamin D insufficiency was cross-sectionally associated with an increased ratio of WMA volume to WM volume (fully adjusted β = 0.35, P = 0.047).

Vitamin D insufficiency was associated with increased WMA volume in the studied sample of older adults. These findings may provide insight into the pathophysiology of cognitive and mobility declines in older adults with vitamin D insufficiency.

See also VitaminDWiki

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