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Vitamin B12 deficiency, an overlooked risk factor of falling in elderly patients with chronic psychiatric disorders

Journal: Chronic Diseases Journal (Vol.9, No. 3)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 148-151

Keywords : Psychogeriatrics; Gait Dysfunction; Vitamin B12 Deficiency;

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BACKGROUND: Falls are among the most common accidents in psychiatric hospitals. One of the possible causes of falls is vitamin B12 deficiency, which is especially prevalent among older adults. However, it was not ignored in previous studies. METHODS: This clinical trial was conducted on older patients with chronic psychiatric diseases admitted to a psychiatric hospital. Based on the data obtained from the multi-factorial fall risk assessment tool (MAHC-10) developed by the Missouri Alliance for Home Care (MAHC) and Tinetti Balance Assessment Tool, the patients at risk of falls were identified and their serum vitamin B12 levels were measured. The patients with vitamin B12 deficiency were selected to be studies in a 3-month trial. At the end of the trial, the patients took the Tinetti test once again. Pre- and post-intervention variables were compared with each other using the dependent t-test. P values of ≤ 0.05 were considered statistically significant. RESULTS: After screening, 10 patients showed vitamin B12 deficiency and were included in the intervention. The mean age and length of stay of the patients were 66.30 ± 10.17 years and 24.55 ± 18.39 months, respectively. The mean scores for the “balance-gait” variable before and after the intervention were 13.40 ± 4.30 and 23.70 ± 4.15, respectively. These figures revealed a significant difference between the two groups (P = 0.001). CONCLUSION: This study showed that vitamin B12 deficiency may be an often-overlooked cause of gait disorders in older patients with psychiatric problems. Treatment with vitamin B12 supplements can reduce the risk of falls in such patients

Last modified: 2021-12-05 16:28:28