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Elderly Who Lack Vitamin D Are At Severe Risk Of Cognitive Decline

July 12, 2010: 10:11 AM EST
Elderly adults who lack sufficient vitamin D in their blood are at greater risk for cognitive problems related to thinking, learning and memory, according to a U.S. study. Participants in the six-year study who were severely deficient in vitamin D were 60 percent more likely to have substantial cognitive decline and 31 percent more likely to experience declines on a test measuring executive function. Forty percent to 100 percent of older U.S. and European adults lack vitamin D, a problem also linked to fractures, various chronic diseases and death. According to the researchers, Vitamin D seems to help prevent deterioration of brain tissue by playing a role in development of nerve tissue, maintaining calcium levels, or clearing of brain plaque-causing beta-amyloid associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
David J. Llewellyn, Ph.D., et al., "Vitamin D and Risk of Cognitive Decline in Elderly Persons", Archives of Internal Medicine, July 12, 2010, © American Medical Association
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