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Folate metabolism in epileptic and psychiatric patients
  1. E. H. Reynolds,
  2. J. Preece,
  3. A. L. Johnson
  1. National Hospital for Nervous Diseases, Queen Square, London
  2. The Area Laboratory, West Park Hospital, Epsom, Surrey
  3. The Medical Research Council Neuropsychiatry Unit, Carshalton, Surrey


    Serum and red cell folate levels and serum vitamin B12 levels have been estimated in 33 normal controls; 34 epileptic outpatients, 19 of whom also suffered from psychiatric illness; 33 epileptic inpatients with psychiatric illness; and 30 non-epileptic inpatients with psychiatric illness. Significant lowering of serum folate and red cell folate levels was observed in epileptic patients with psychiatric illness, and a less significant fall in red cell folate levels was found in non-epileptic psychiatric patients. Serum folate levels less than 2·5 ng/ml. were found in two controls, seven outpatient epileptics, 29 inpatients, and 10 non-epileptic patients. Red cell folate levels less than 100 ng/ml. were found in two controls, nine outpatient epileptics, 23 inpatient epileptics, and seven non-epileptic patients. A significant correlation was found between serum and red cell folate values in control, epileptic, and non-epileptic patients. In the epileptic patients there was a significant association between low serum and red cell folate levels and the presence of psychiatric illness. The origin and possible significance of these findings are discussed.

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