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Health  2024 

Homocysteinemia and Depression in Community-Dwelling Older Adults: The Cohort Longitudinal Study “InveCeAb” (Brain Aging in Abbiategrasso)

DOI: 10.4236/health.2024.161003, PP. 22-36

Keywords: Homocysteinemia, Depression, Aging, Cohort

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Depression is a major health problem, especially for elderly people. According to the “homocysteine hypothesis of depression”, high homocysteine levels may cause depression of mood via cerebrovascular diseases. Whilst biologically plausible, such hypothesis needs yet confirmation. We aimed at: 1) studying the relationships between homocysteinemia (HCY) and depression in a community-dwelling cohort of people aged 70 to 75 years at baseline; 2) investigating plasma levels of HCY and 3) comparing these levels between males and females, in the same population. We exploited the data from four waves (2010, 2012, 2014 and 2018) of the longitudinal study “InveCeAb”, with specific regard towards mood assessment, by Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) scoring, and diagnosis of clinically relevant or subthreshold depression. HCY plasma levels were measured in the waves 2012, 2014 and 2018. Sample attrition was due mainly to death or overall worsening. No statistically significant differences were found in plasma homocysteine levels in each wave, according to depressive symptoms. No correlations were found between plasma HCY levels in each wave with their corresponding GDS scores, even after adjustment for folate and cobalamin blood concentrations. Dichotomized levels of HCY (≤15 vs >15 μM/l) were not associated with dichotomized GDS scores (≤4 vs higher), clinically relevant and subthreshold depression diagnosis and any antidepressive use, in any wave. First (2012) HCY levels increased with participants’ increasing age, cross-sectionally. Listwise HCY concentrations decreased along the 3 waves. HCY levels were always higher in males than in females. Our results may challenge the “homocysteine hypothesis” of depression, whilst supporting the role of high homocysteinemia as a marker of overall bad health.


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