Vascular risk and low serum B12 predict white matter lesions in patients with major depression

Ian Hickie*, Sharon Naismith, Philip B. Ward, Elizabeth Scott, Philip Mitchell, Kay Wilhelm, Gordon Parker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Background: While patients with depression have been shown to have a greater incidence of vascular risk factors and structural brain changes, any association with dietary co-factors is unclear. Methods: Forty-seven patients with major depression (mean age=52.8 years, SD=12.6) and 21 healthy volunteers (mean age=54.7 years, SD=9.1) underwent high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging scanning. T2-weighted films were scored for deep white matter (DWM), periventricular (PV), and subcortical (SC) hyperintensities. Results: There was no difference in lesion severity between patients and control subjects. After controlling for age, vitamin B12 levels were predictive of DWM lesions in patients. DWM and SC lesions were associated with histories of hypertension and diabetes. Limitations: A relatively small sample of patients were recruited from specialist services and the findings may not represent those observed in larger or community-based cohorts. Conclusions: In patients with major depression, vitamin B12 levels and histories of hypertension and/or diabetes are predictive of white matter lesions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-332
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Depression
  • Folate
  • Homocysteine
  • Vascular
  • Vitamin B12
  • White matter


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