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Editor's Correspondence
April 13, 2009

Vitamin B12, Folate, and Anemia in Old Age

Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(7):716. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2009.28

den Elzen et al1 recently showed that anemia in a general population of very elderly individuals is associated with folate deficiency but not with vitamin B12 deficiency. Because the prediction of anemia is an important aspect of the practice of hematology, especially in elderly individuals, we retrospectively analyzed the results of hemoglobin, folate, and vitamin B12 measurements performed on a cohort of unselected subjects older than 85 years, who were referred to our laboratory by general practitioners for routine diagnostic checkup over the past 2 years. Based on the larger Scripps-Kaiser database, anemia was defined as a hemoglobin concentration lower than 13.2 g/dL (to convert to grams per liter, multiply by 10) in older men and lower than 12.2 g/dL in older women, respectively.2 Cumulative results were retrieved from the database of our Laboratory Information System for 878 elderly outpatients (324 men and 554 women; age range, 85-101 years).

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