A team of researchers recently conducted a small study that suggests some children can find relief from their autism symptoms by receiving methyl B12 injections, which improve their DNA methylation.
The injections helped to improve the behavior of the children, particularly among children who were in a specific subgroup with blood chemistry changes. These changes occurred after they received the methyl B12 injections.
The injections improved the ability of the cells to methylate DNA, which is important for turning on or off the genes inside of a cell at specific times. This builds on previous studies that showed that this methylation process is somehow inhibited among autistic individuals.
The study, available in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology and funded by an Autism Speaks grant, was the world’s first placebo-controlled, blinded trial of methyl B12 injections. These injections, used to treat autism, have grown more popular in recent years.
“It’s very important to have placebo-controlled studies like this one,” Paul Wang, Autism Speaks' senior vice president for medical research and pediatrician, said. “Open-label studies, where everyone knows they’re getting the treatment, commonly show promising effects that reflect expectations rather than treatment effectiveness.”
Wang went on to warn that certain results of the study are not consistent and require further research.