DOI: 10.1002/alz.072918 ISSN: 1552-5260

Caregiving for a spouse with cognitive impairment: Effects on serum homocysteine level

So Yeon Jeon, Jeong Lan Kim
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Neurology (clinical)
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Health Policy
  • Epidemiology



Among older adults, being a spousal caregiver (SCG) for a patient with cognitive impairment is well known to be associated with increased risk for cognitive decline and cardiovascular disease. It is important to understand the caregiving‐related risk factor for caregiver’s health outcome. Elevated total serum homocysteine also has been linked to cognitive impairment and is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Therefore, this study aims to examine the relationship between caregiver burden with serum homocysteine level in older adults couples.


From May 2020 to December 2022, clinical evaluation and blood tests were conducted for patients who visited Chungnam National University Geriatric Neuropsychiatric clinic with their spouse. A total of 92 individuals were included in the analysis. As clinical assessment, we evaluated the care burden using Zarit burden interview and blood samples were collected from the subjects after overnight fasting.


In linear regression analysis adjusted for age, sex, care‐recipient’s clinical diagnosis, vascular risk score and apolipoprotein E ε4 positivity. The SCG’s burden was significantly associated with the level of homocysteine (β = 0.289, t = 2.670, p = 0.009). As SCG’s burden increased, the serum homocysteine level also increased. The results were unchanged after excluding care‐recipient with normal cognition (n = 8) (β = 0.266, t = 2.432, p = 0.018)


This finding suggest that SCG’s burden for patients with cognitive impairment might raise homocysteine levels among SCGs which can further affect cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline. As such, homocysteine level should be well monitored among SCGs for patient with cognitive impairment.

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