Higher Vitamin E Intake Linked to Fewer Errors by Elderly

BACKGROUND: Many different tests are used to assess the thinking abilities of people. One of the tests is Pfeiffer's Mental Status Questionnaire (PMSQ). The PMSQ measures thinking abilities relative to the number of errors made by subjects. The test includes a correction factor to compensate for the subjects' level of education.

RESEARCH: Biomedical researchers in Madrid, Spain, measured the cognitive performance of 34 men and 86 women, ranging in age from 65 to 91 years. They used the PMSQ to measure the subjects' thinking abilities, and they also assessed their diets and blood levels of vitamin E.

RESULTS: Men and women with the highest vitamin E consumption made the fewest errors on the PMSQ, whereas people with the lowest vitamin E intake (less than half of the recommended dietary intake) made the most errors.

This pattern remained when the researchers assessed the serum levels of vitamin E and the ratio of vitamin E to cholesterol. Higher blood levels of vitamin E alone or relative to cholesterol were associated with better cognitive function.

IMPLICATIONS: More than 95 percent of the subjects had vitamin E intake below recommended amounts, and more than 86 percent had vitamin E intakes less than two-thirds of the recommended daily amount. These data indicate that the majority of this elderly population did not obtain sufficient vitamin E from their diets. The researchers noted that "it is clear that the vitamin E nutriture of this population of elderly people could be improved."

Ortega RM, Requejo AM, Lopez-Sobaler AM, et al., "Cognitive function in elderly people is influenced by vitamin E status." Journal of Nutrition, 2002;132:2065-2068.

For the original abstract, visit: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov:80/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&li st_uids=12097694&dopt=Abstract

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