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Editor's Correspondence |

Folic Acid and Cognitive Function: What Is the Final Verdict?

Samar Harris, MBBS; Harris V. K. Naina, MBBS; Sameer Siddique, MRCP
Arch Intern Med. 2007;167(14):1555. doi:10.1001/archinte.167.14.1555-a.
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In their systematic review on pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), cyanocobalamin or hydroxycobalamin (vitamin B12), and folic acid supplementation on cognitive function, Balk et al1(p21) concluded that

Though authors have mentioned a non–peer reviewed abstract on the benefits of folic acid supplementation on cognitive function in patients with hyperhomocysteinemia, we would like to share the recent Folic Acid and Carotid Intima-media Thickness (FACIT) trial, a double-blind, placebo-controlled study to assess the effect of folic acid on markers of atherosclerosis in men and women aged 50 to 70 years with raised plasma total homocysteine and normal serum vitamin B12 levels at screening conducted in the Netherlands. A secondary end point of the study was the effect of folic acid supplementation on cognitive performance. This study has shown a statistically significant improvement in memory, information processing speed, and sensorimotor speed in the folic acid group than in the placebo group.2 Earlier, a 2-year, double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial performed in Australia showed that lowering homocysteine levels with vitamin B12, folate, and vitamin B6 supplementation did not improve the cognitive performance in healthy adults 65 years or older.3 A recent study done in the same cohort has shown that folic acid supplementation slowed the decline in hearing of the speech frequencies associated with aging.4

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