We studied 82 non-demented old people and, using MRI, derived measures of grey and white matter and intracranial volumes. Controlling for sex and intracranial volume, we related grey and white matter volumes to plasma concentrations of vitamins C, B-12, folate, homocysteine, cholesterol, triglycerides, high density and low density (LDL) lipoproteins, and to red blood cell folate and glycated haemoglobin concentrations (HbA1(c)). We found that lower grey matter volume was associated with lower plasma vitamin C and higher homocysteine, cholesterol and LDL. Lower blood cell folate was also associated with lower grey matter volume but HbA1(c) was not. These data are consistent with the putative benefits of dietary vitamin C and folate intake and the role of cholesterol in age related neurodegeneration. (C) 2003 Published by Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.