Vitamin B12 status does not influence central motor conduction time in asymptomatic elderly people: A transcranial magnetic stimulation study.

Matamala JM, Nuñez C, Verdugo RJ, Lera L, Sánchez H, Albala C, Castillo JL.


Abstract Introduction: Vitamin B12 deficiency causes neurologic and psychiatric disease, especially in older adults. Subacute combined degeneration is characterized by damage to the posterior and lateral spinal cord affecting the corticospinal tract. OBJECTIVE: To test corticospinal tract projections using motor evoked potentials (MEPs) by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in asymptomatic older adults with low vitamin B12 (B12) levels. METHODS: Cross-sectional study of 53 healthy older adults (>70 years). MEPs were recorded in the abductor pollicis brevis and tibialis anterior muscles, at rest and during slight tonic contraction. Central motor conduction time (CMCT) was derived from the latency of MEPs and peripheral motor conduction time (PMCT). Neurophysiological variables were analyzed statistically according to B12 status. RESULTS: Median age was 74.3 ± 3.6 years (58.5% women). Twenty-six out of the 53 subjects had low vitamin B12 levels (B12 < 221 pmol/l). MEPs were recorded for all subjects in upper and lower extremities. There were no significant differences in either latency or amplitude of MEPs and CMCT between low and normal B12 groups. There was a significant PMCT delay in the lower extremities in the low B12 group (p = 0.014). CONCLUSIONS: No subclinical abnormality of the corticospinal tract is detected in asymptomatic B12-deficient older adults. The peripheral nervous system appears to be more vulnerable to damage attributable to this vitamin deficit. The neurophysiological evaluation of asymptomatic older adults with lower B12 levels should be focused mainly in peripheral nervous system evaluation.

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Título de la Revista: Somatosens Mot Res.
Volumen: 31(3)
Fecha de publicación: 2013
Página de inicio: 136
Página final: 140