Biohit Oyj

Atrophic gastritis and vitamin B12 deficiency remain often undetected in elderly people – early diagnosis is important to prevent complications

Early diagnosis of atrophic gastritis and vitamin B12 deficiency in elderly people is important in order to prevent, for instance, irreversible neurological complications. Atrophic gastritis is caused by Helicobacter pylori infection or autoimmune disease. Atrophic gastritis, related i.a. to risk for gastric cancer, can be one important reason leading to vitamin B12 deficiency. A majority of B12 vitamin deficient cases in Estonia but less than 25% in Finland remains undiagnosed. This is evident in a study comparing prevalence of atrophic gastritis and vitamin B12 deficiency in elderly people in Finland and Estonia

A majority of B12 vitamin deficient cases in Estonia but less than one fourth in Finland remains undetected

In the study, 209 men and women beyond 80 years of age in two assisted-housing facilities in Tampere and Tartu were examined with Biohit active vitamin B12 test and GastroPanel® stomach health test detecting atrophic gastritis in addition to Helicobacter pylori infection (see Additional Information). These laboratory results were linked with the medical history of the study subjects. The study was carried out by Biohit in collaboration with local doctors.

In the study, atrophic gastritis was found in 12% of study subjects in Finland and in 15.6% of those in Estonia.  Of the cases with vitamin B12 deficiency found in the study, a vast majority (92%) in Estonia but less than one fourth (23.5%) in Finland had remained previously undetected.

Early detection of the risk for vitamin B12 deficiency is necessary

Vitamin B12 deficiency results rarely from diet. Usually, it is caused by often asymptomatic atrophic gastritis, resulting in acid-free stomach, which in turn leads to malabsorption of this vitamin. Vitamin B12 deficiency caused by atrophic gastritis is a slow process, which can lead to peripheral neuropathy, depression and dementia. These complications begin to develop even before the deficiency can be detected with the vitamin B12 test.

Chief Medical Director Kari Syrjänen, Biohit Oyj: ‘In order to prevent the complications caused by vitamin B12 deficiency, the risk for deficiency has to be detected early enough. GastroPanel® test is ideal for screening of the risk groups for vitamin B12 deficiency. The test is producing a lot of other information as well. Additionally, it is recommended to measure vitamin B12 levels in people over 60 years of age.’

CEO Semi Korpela, Biohit Oyj: 'There is an increasing need for GastroPanel® test and vitamin B12 measurement, particularly among the elderly people.'

Manuscript: Atrophic gastritis (AG) and its clinical sequels among elderly people in Finland and Estonia. A comparative study using GastroPanel and B12-vitamin testing of the residents in assisted-housing facilities (Riitta Aine, Elli Kahar, Katriina Aitokari, Johanna Salminen, Carita Eklund, Lea Paloheimo, Ants Peetsalu, and Kari Syrjänen) has been submitted for evaluation in an international geriatric journal.

 Additional information:
CEO Semi Korpela, Biohit Oyj
tel. +358 9 773 861

Biohit in brief

Biohit Oyj is a globally operating Finnish biotechnology company. Biohit mission is “Innovating for Health” – we produce innovative products and services to promote research and early diagnosis. Biohit is headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, and has subsidiaries in Italy and the UK. Biohit Series B share (BIOBV) is quoted on NASDAQ OMX Helsinki in the Small cap/Healthcare group. www.biohithealthcare.com

Exhibitor Data Sheet