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November 1984

N,N-Dimethylglycine, Betaine, and Seizures

Author Affiliations

National Institute of Mental Health St Elizabeth's Hospital, 1 WAW Bldg Washington, DC 20032

Arch Neurol. 1984;41(11):1129-1130. doi:10.1001/archneur.1984.04050220023004

To the Editor.  —Roach and Carlin1 recently described a mentally retarded patient with severe seizures that were reduced by N,N-dimethylglycine. Lest potential therapeutic properties of N,N-dimethylglycine be too rapidly dismissed because of possible in vitro toxicity or because the compound has been promoted as a "health food",2 I would like to point out some corroborative data. In fact, further consideration of clinical trials of N,N-dimethylglycine, and the related compound N,N,N,-trimethylglycine (betaine), for epilepsy has a sound scientific basis.N,N-Dimethylglycine is formed from betaine in the metabolism of homocysteine to methionine.3 Betaine is the methyl donor only for the form of this reaction that occurs outside of the CNS.4,5N,N-Dimethylglycine is thus formed from betaine by the removal of one methyl group. The involvement of betaine and N,N-dimethylglycine in homocysteine methylation is their only recognized biologic role.3,6Homocysteine can

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