Homocysteine-Reducing Strategies Improve Symptoms in Chronic Schizophrenic Patients with Hyperhomocysteinemia

Joseph Levine, Ziva Stahl, Ben Ami Sela, Vladimir Ruderman, Oleg Shumaico, Ivgeny Babushkin, Yamima Osher, Yuly Bersudsky, R. H. Belmaker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


Background: An elevated homocysteine level is reported to be a risk factor for several diseases, including Alzheimer's and cerebrovascular disease. Recently, several studies have reported that homocysteine levels are elevated in many schizophrenic patients. Homocysteine levels can be lowered by oral folic acid, B-12, and pyridoxine. Methods: Forty-two schizophrenic patients with plasma homocysteine levels >15 μmol/L were treated with these vitamins for 3 months and placebo for 3 months in a study with a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover design. Results: Homocysteine levels declined with vitamin therapy compared with placebo in all patients except for one noncompliant subject. Clinical symptoms of schizophrenia as measured by the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale declined significantly with active treatment compared with placebo. Neuropsychological test results overall, and Wisconsin Card Sort (Categories Completed) test results in particular, were significantly better after vitamin treatment than after placebo. Conclusions: A subgroup of schizophrenic patients with hyperhomocysteinemia might benefit from the simple addition of B vitamins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-269
Number of pages5
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2006


  • Homocysteine
  • neurotoxicity
  • schizophrenia
  • vitamin treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry


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