Date of Graduation

8-14-2010

Degree Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies

First Advisor

Mary Von PA-C, MS, DFAAPA

Second Advisor

Annjanette Sommers MS, PAC

Third Advisor

Rob Rosenow PharmD, OD

Abstract

Background: The role that vitamin D plays in numerous biological systems has been an intriguing topic in recent decades. Currently, scientists are researching its interaction with the central nervous system, and in particular, the ageing brain. Substantial data from animal research exist on the physiologic effects of vitamin D on the neurological system. It is postulated that this vitamin may influence cognitive function in humans.

Methods: Using the search terms “vitamin D” and “cognitive function,” an exhaustive literature search was performed using the following databases: Medline-OVID, Web of Science, MD Consult, CINHAL, and PsycINFO. Any other scientific terms that can be used for these two terms were searched, as well, including but not limited to “cholecalciferol” and “cognition” and “cognitive decline” so that relevant research articles were not overlooked. Articles pertaining to the clinical question were then appraised and assigned a validity score.

Results: Five articles met the inclusion and exclusion criteria for the systematic review. All of the articles were observational studies. The results of three of them found a positive correlation between vitamin D levels and cognitive function, while the results of other studies did not reveal an association between the two variables.

Conclusion: The articles included in this study did not reach a collective agreement on an answer to the clinical question posed. Future research is warranted on this topic due to its potential impact on managing elderly medical care, and it should focus on the efficacy of using supplemental vitamin D to decrease risk of age-related cognitive decline.

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