Bio-medical intervention has contributed to far-reaching improvements in children suffering from Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). A three-year-long, follow-up study on it has shown promising long-term effects of Methyl-B12 injection on autistic children in India.
Methyl B12 is the coenzyme form of the B12 vitamin and works to degrade levels of a toxin (homocysteine) that builds up in the body when one suffers from vitamin B12 deficiency.
Over three years, researchers at the Centre for Child and Adolescent Wellbeing (CCAW) introduced M-B12 injections
on 45 children between 3 to 24 months using Neubrander’s protocol.
“In 2002, Dr James Neubrander made the accidental discovery that showed M-B12 profound effect on autism. This introduction of folate increased the anti-oxidation potential in the child, which showed
obvious clinical benefits in children with ASD. To our knowledge this is the first documented open trial using M-B12 injections on Indian autistic children,” said Dr Deepak Gupta, child and adolescent psychiatrist, consultant, Sir Gangaram Hospital.
Dr Gupta is also the founder of CCAW, who presented the Indian study at the World Psychiatry Conference held in Paris in 2012. “As of now M-B12 injections are being used as A treatment modality for ASD in US and other developed countries,” he said. Dr Gupta conducted the trials along with psychologists Tripti Choudhary and Shreya Tandon.
The study showed that in all the 45 children who took the injection, no serious side effects were seen. “Initially most parents reported an increase in hyperactivity and mouthing, which implied increased sensory issued but most of them settled down,” said Dr Gupta.
Of the total population, 22 children (48%) showed remarkable improvement, especially in sociability and eye contact. Researchers say, they also noticed marked improvement in social responsiveness, understanding and alertness of these children.
“Although complete speech wasn’t reported in 29 children (64%), children showed an inclination towards being more verbal, like being able to use one or two words at a time,” said Dr Gupta. Majority of the children (93%) continue to show reduction in ASD features — speech, eye contact, social and communication skills. Bedwetting, toilet trailing and sleep patterns also showed a positive change.
The results also showed that 3 children (6%) reported no change in their behaviour and stopped M-B12 injections and continue to be monitored.
For parents who were skeptical about the use of injections, doctors introduced nasal spray, which showed significant changes, comparable to injections.