Serum Iron Parameters, HFE C282Y Genotype, and Cognitive Performance in Older Adults: Results From the FACIT Study

O.J.G. Schiepers, M.P.J. van Boxtel, R.H.M. Groot, J. Jolles, W.L.A.M. de Kort, D.W. Swinkels, F.J. Kok, P. Verhoef, J. Durga

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23 Citations (Scopus)


Although iron homeostasis is essential for brain functioning, the effects of iron levels on cognitive performance in older individuals have scarcely been investigated. In the present study, serum iron parameters and hemochromatosis (HFE) C282Y genotype were determined in 818 older individuals who participated in a 3-year randomized, placebo-controlled double-blind trial examining the effects of folic acid on carotid intima-media thickness. All participants had slightly elevated homocysteine levels and were vitamin B12 replete. Cognitive functioning was assessed at baseline and after 3 years by means of a neuropsychological test battery. At baseline, increased serum ferritin was associated with decreased sensorimotor speed, complex speed, and information-processing speed and increased serum iron was associated with decreased sensorimotor speed. Cognitive performance over 3 years was not associated with HFE C282Y genotype or iron parameters. In conclusion, serum iron parameters do not show a straightforward relationship with cognitive functioning, although elevated iron levels may decrease cognitive speed in older individuals susceptible to cognitive impairment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1312-1321
JournalJournals of Gerontology. Series A: Biological Sciences & Medical Sciences
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • transferrin-bound iron
  • participants aged 24-81
  • restless legs syndrome
  • normative data
  • alzheimers-disease
  • gene-mutations
  • neurodegenerative disorders
  • hereditary hemochromatosis
  • parkinsons-disease
  • physical-activity


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