Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Study - Vitamin B12 Injections for Autism Show No Signs of Benefit

The biggest challenge confronted by parents of children newly diagnosed with autism is what to do about it; how can they help their children, what treatments should they seek to cure their child or at least improve their quality of life. ABA has been widely endorsed as being an evidence based effective intervention but it is complex and expensive. "Alternative" treatments abound as cheaper, easier alternatives, and parents can end up losing their valuable funds and even more valuable time - time which is critical for the their childrens' development - exploring unproven, ineffective, alternative treatments. When my son was diagnosed secretin was the flavor of the day. So too was vitamin B-12 treatment. Now a study by University of California at Davis professor and colleagues indicates that there is no benefit to B-12 treatment.


SAN DIEGO, Oct. 30 -- Preliminary results of a small ongoing study of vitamin B12 injections for children with autism showed no signs of significant benefit, researchers reported here, but they remained hopeful.

So said Lesley J. Deprey, Ph.D., of the University of California at Davis, and colleagues, in a poster presentation at the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry meeting here.

Their hope, they noted, derived from "anecdotal reports of remarkable clinical improvements" using subcutaneous vitamin B12 (methyl cobalamin), although there have been no supporting published studies. Vitamin B12 is an antioxidant involved in metabolism pathways for cellular methylation, which has been implicated in other neurological disorders like schizophrenia and Alzheimer's Disease.

The researchers reported that no significant benefits have turned up yet for the 14 patients who have completed three months in the current double-blind crossover study. They found no significant differences with active versus placebo treatment for the following measures:

  • Clinical Global Impression Scale Improvement (P=0.4129),
  • Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test scores (P=0.2895), and
  • Social Communication Questionnaire verbal results (P=0.4211).

A significant improvement found for nonverbal Social Communication Questionnaire scores in the vitamin B12 group compared to placebo (P=0.0309) disappeared after adjusting for multiple testing.

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