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    You are here : Home » MS Research News » Vitamin B12 Research

    Vitamin B12 Research

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    Below is the latest Research into Vitamin B12 and MS available.

    More news can be found in New Pathways Magazine, our bi-monthly publication, and also check daily at MSRC: Latest MS News.

    Medical breakthrough?
    Inside Out meets a County Durham family doctor who claims that he has made a medical breakthrough that could save the NHS a fortune and transform the lives of millions of patients.

    Dr Chandy had a hunch 25 years ago and he's been researching it ever since.

    He's claiming doctors have lost interest in the vitamin B12 which may hold the key to alleviating a whole range of symptoms.

    Dr Chandy is convinced that patients are being misdiagnosed and put on drugs which they don't need - but the medical profession remains sceptical of his findings.

    What is B12?
    Vitamin B12 is found in animal products and most of us get enough from our daily diet.

    Vegans and strict vegetarians can therefore be at risk of having a deficiency but in addition some people are not able to absorb the vitamin properly in their stomach - so even if they eat a healthy diet they could not be getting enough B12.

    The inability to absorb B12 may be hereditary and seems to affect women more than men.

    The vitamin is essential to the creation of healthy cells and it's known that it can cause tell tale abnormalities in the formation of red blood cells, leading to anaemia.

    Dr Chandy's view
    Where Chandy goes beyond currently accepted practice is that he believes patients can present with a range of symptoms without showing the hallmark signs of anaemia, such as enlarged blood cells.

    He feels that if blood tests come back normal, doctors are too quick to rule out a diagnosis of B12 deficiency.

    Dr Chandy also thinks a patient should be diagnosed as deficient before their B12 level falls to the current accepted levels of B12 deficiency.

    His surgery has diagnosed 700 patients as B12 deficient - at 10% that's way above the national average.

    The patients' evidence
    Inside Out's Chris Jackson met a couple of Dr Chandy's patients whose stories are at first sight compelling.

    Catharine Iceton was diagnosed with MS seven years ago.

    She developed chronic fatigue, dizziness and she had numbness and tingling in her limbs.

    She found it difficult to walk and would often need a wheelchair.

    After going on to B12 she is now able to take the family pet Jess out for a walk, and the extreme tiredness has gone along with most of her symptoms.

    Her mobility scooter is now abandoned unused under the stairs.

    No one is claiming she's in perfect health or that the diagnosis of MS can be written off, but the change has astounded her and her husband Matthew.

    Janette's story
    Janette Chapman had become a virtual hermit in her own home.

    Since being a youngster her hair had started falling out.

    Having to wear a wig robbed her of her self-esteem.

    She'd been told she had alopecia and her hair might never grow back.

    Janette was resigned to a bleak future and was prescribed antidepressants.

    Concerned for her welfare her family literally dragged her to see Dr Chandy who noted her other symptoms such as fatigue, loss of memory and hand tremors.

    After being given B12 her symptoms have improved and her hair has returned.

    But are such cases real evidence?

    The medical world would probably say no - not without a proper clinical trial.

    Quack or Expert?
    Easington Primary Care Trust became alarmed at the amount of B12 being prescribed at the surgery in Horden.

    There were concerns his unorthodox methods might be harming patient safety.

    Dr Chandy argues he was not experimenting on his patients as administering a vitamin with no known side-effects could do no harm, only good.

    He was told to suspend his treatment regime for all but a few patients while a consultant Haematologist at Newcastle's Freeman Hospital looked in to what he was doing.

    After reviewing extensive patient records which Dr Chandy had been collecting over 25 years, it was recently decided he could resume his B12 treatment programme, but with stricter controls to ensure other serious conditions were not being missed.

    Having spent more than half his 40 year NHS career looking at B12, Dr Chandy is hoping to publish his findings in medical journals shortly.

    But he's resisting calls to have his work subjected to a full clinical trial as he claims it would be unethical to give placebos to some patients who could benefit from B12 - especially as there are no known side-effects.

    Without such trials doctors are unlikely to follow a similar path, but Dr Chandy hopes the NHS overcome its scepticism by listening to the financial arguments.

    A B12 test is only £3 - if it leads to a diagnosis of B12 deficiency it could save the health service a fortune as it costs around £22 to give 6 months of B12 injections - compared with the cost of up to £280 for antidepressants.

    What the NHS thinks
    Durham Primary Care Trust statement says:

    "The former Easington Primary Care Trust has agreed a way forward with Dr Chandy for the treatment of patients deemed to be Vitamin B12 deficient.

    "The PCT is very interested in Dr Chandy's work and the PCT Professional Executive Committee (PEC) recently arranged an opportunity for Dr Chandy to present his findings.

    "The PEC were supportive of Dr Chandy writing up his findings for peer review and publication in a medical journal, as well as encouraging a fully controlled research study.

    "The PCT is pleased that Dr Chandy's work is being published and looks forward to working with him on designing and taking forward a comprehensive research study."

    Source: BBC Inside Out Copywrite BBC 2006

    Vitamin B12 deficiency and misdiagnosis of MS?
    A wheel-chair bound woman diagnosed with multiple sclerosis was able to walk just 48 hours after revolutionary treatment.

    A medical test costing just £3.37 led to Peterlee woman Catharine Iceton, who was diagnosed with MS seven years ago, being given vitamin injections that improved her symptoms by 60 per cent in just two days. Horden GP Dr Joseph Chandy has been investigating vitamin B12 deficiency for the past 25 years and has been treating hundreds of his patients with special injections. Dr Chandy, who practises at the Shinwell Medical Practice, Fourth Street, Horden, believes thousands of people could have been misdiagnosed with debilitating illnesses when they really have a vitamin deficiency. Dr Chandy claims his research shows that hundreds of patients fall through the net because the symptoms of B12 deficiency are not recognised.

    Mum-of-two Catharine, 30, said she was virtually wheelchair-bound, suffered depression and had chronic fatigue, until she was tested for B12 deficiency in August. Catharine, of St Leonards Close, Peterlee, said: “Before I started the B12 I needed help walking and I spent a lot of time in a wheelchair. “Now I can walk unaided and I would say I had improved by 60 per cent in just two days. “It’s incredible. I would never have believed it.”

    Sufferers exhibit a wide range of health problems from single limb paralysis to hair loss, severe depression and blindness, and these are often put down to other causes. Now Dr Chandy has won his battle to treat patients for B12 deficiency after being given the go-ahead from health chiefs. More than 700 of his patients, some as young as 10, have been getting regular injections for a low level of the vitamin and, in the majority of cases, it has made a remarkable improvement to their health. The doctor is hoping that his pathway of care will pave the way for thousands of patients across the country to have their condition recognised and treated Dr Chandy said: “It is frightening the amount of people who are B12 deficient and I think this work will make an enormous difference.”

    Source: Hartlepool Today All rights reserved © 2006 Johnston Press Digital Publishing.

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