Psychiatric Illness

Over the past three decades, a vast number of case reports, open studies and, to a lesser extent, case-control studies have been published on the topic of psychopath-ology and folate deficiency. Many report a high incidence of serum folate deficiency in patients with symptoms of depression and various psychiatric disorders, particularly in geriatric populations (Reynolds 2002). For instance, one review identified that serum folate deficiency varied between 8% and 50% in patients with various psychiatric disorders including depression and schizophrenia (Young and Ghadirian 1989). Two large studies involving over 350 patients diagnosed with acute psychiatric presentations identified low folate levels or frank deficiency (31 % and 12%

respectively). The patients with the most marked deficiency were also the group with Folate 474

the highest percentage of inpatients (Carney et al 1990). Recently, another study of

similar design found 30% of 224 newly admitted psychiatric patients had low serum folate (<3.5 ng/mL) compared to only 2.4% of controls and that patients with low folate were 3.5-fold more likely to present with depressive features (Lerner et al 2006). Disturbingly the researchers also identified a significant trend between folate deficiency and hospital readmissions.

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