Background: Elevated total plasma homocysteine (tHcy) has been associated with cognitive impairment, vascular disease and brain atrophy.
Methods: We investigated 150 volunteers to determine if the association between high tHcy and cerebral grey matter volume and cognitive function is independent of cardiovascular disease.
Results: Participants with high tHcy (≥15 μmol/L) showed a widespread relative loss of grey matter compared with people with normal tHcy, although differences between the groups were minimal once the analyses were adjusted for age, gender, diabetes, hypertension, smoking and prevalent cardiovascular disease. Individuals with high tHcy had worse cognitive scores across a range of domains and less total grey matter volume, although these differences were not significant in the adjusted models.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that the association between high tHcy and loss of cerebral grey matter volume and decline in cognitive function is largely explained by increasing age and cardiovascular diseases and indicate that the relationship is not causal.