The UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has issued a briefing on the use of Active-B12. Their review is very positive and suggests that the likely use of Active-B12 would be in place of current tests in people with suspected Vitamin B12 deficiency.
Axis-Shield will develop the Active-B12 test for Siemens Healthcare allowing more laboratories worldwide to perform the test.
A new publication has demonstrated that five different Total B12 assays gave normal B12 results in a patient with confirmed pernicious anaemia. To access the paper click here
A team from the Oxford Project to investigate Memory and Ageing (OPTIMA) has found that on average, in those taking vitamin supplements, brain shrinkage slowed by 30%.
In some cases it slowed by more than 50%, making their brain atrophy no worse than that of people without cognitive impairment.
Importantly, only the Active-B12 result and NOT the standard Total B12 result was able to predict the cognitive decline.
A petition to the Scottish Government has urged a review and overhaul of the current method of diagnosis and treatment of pernicious anaemia and vitamin B12 deficiency.
The chamber heard that there was no consensus across individual NHS boards on the current testing methods and also that the Axis-Shield Active-B12 test offers a more accurate method of detecting this disease.
UK NEQAS, the body which ensures the quality of UK lab results, have publicised their concerns over the traditional B12 tests. In the April 2013 newsletter of the Association of Clinical Biochemists (ACB), they write:
“UK NEQAS Haematinics is keen to publicise their concerns on problems with current B12assays which may be vulnerable to interference resulting in normal values despite severe cobalamin deficiency.
The Committee advises that where there is a discordance between the clinical features of neuropathy such as parasthesiae, loss of joint position sense, or megaloblastic anaemia and a “normal” B12 result, clinicians are advised to request storage of serum for further testing and are advised to treat the patient withB12 replacement therapy.
Further testing may include repeat testing by an alternativeB12 assay, holotranscobalamin assay, serum methylmalonic acid and measurement of intrinsic factor antibody. Treatment with B12 should not be delayed to avoid progression of neurological damage”
View the warning in the ACB newsletter here.
The failings of current tests and treatment for Vitamin B12 deficiency were discussed on Radio 4’s Inside Health program on 4th September 2012.
Professor John Hunter of Cranfield University and Martyn Hooper, Chair of the PerniciousAnaemia Society discussed how current practices are not meeting patient needs due to the poor performance of existing blood tests and the out-of-date guidelines provided to doctors.
Listen to the discussion here