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Study uncovers decreased vitamin B12 levels in older, autistic and schizophrenic brains
July 22 2016. An article appearing in PLOS One reports the finding of abnormally low levels of vitamin B12 (cobalamin) in the brains of humans affected by aging, autism or schizophrenia.
"To our knowledge, this is the first report of pathologically reduced levels of active cobalamin species in autistic and schizophrenic brain," Richard C. Deth of Boston's Northeastern University and colleagues announce.
Five types of vitamin B12, including methylcobalamin, adenosylcobalamin, cyanocobalamin, hydroxocobalamin and glutathionylcobalamin, were measured in postmortem frontal cortex brain samples from 9 schizophrenic, 12 autistic and 43 control subjects. The researchers found that methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin were three times lower in the brains of those with autism or schizophrenia in comparison with levels measured in age-matched controls and that low methylcobalamin levels in autistic brains were associated with higher homocysteine levels. Brains from control subjects over 60 years of age had more than ten-fold lower methylcobalamin levels compared to those 20 years of age and younger.
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