Welcome to the OPEN Study website.

Older people are at increased risk of vitamin B12 deficiency which can lead to severe neurocognitive deficit (e.g. progressive weakness, vision and hearing loss, impairment in communication and co-ordination). The aim of the present study is to assess whether increased dietary intake of crystalline vitamin B12 will improve nerve function and cognitive function in older people with defined low vitamin B12 status. Demonstrating that vitamin B12 dependant nerve and cognitive function impairment is present even in individuals without clinical symptoms will have considerable public health significance.

The OPEN study is now complete. The study found that while the daily consumption of vitamin B12 tablets raised the concentration of vitamin B12 in the blood, this did not result in improved neurological function or cognitive function i.e. there was no evidence of benefit for neurological function or cognitive function from the daily consumption of tablets containing 1mg vitamin B12 for 12 months among older people with low vitamin B12 status. Even though we found no benefit from providing vitamin B12 supplements, our findings are important for older people around the world, and for the health professionals looking after the nutritional needs of older people. The results have been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the publication is freely available here.

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