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More evidence folinic acid could help treat autism

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Folinic acid could help autism

Children with autism spectrum disorder treated with prescription folinic acid showed improvements in communication skills that study authors say were significant in a new study.


Lead author Richard Frye of Arkansas Children's Research Institute has been studying the vitamin for ASD and the newest study is part of ongoing research.

Positive finding

Children with ASD that were given folinic acid in prescription form showed improvements in communication skills that the study authors say were “significant”, though more research is needed to validate the finding.

Frye said in the press release, though more studies are needed, the preliminary finding showed children with autism given the vitamin showed gains in communication skills not seen in the ASD group given placebo.

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Impetus for the ongoing research comes from previous studies showing children with ASD have a high incidence of folate receptor autoantibodies (FRAs) that interfere with neurodevelopment.

Children with ASD who have high numbers of FRAs were shown to respond well to folinic acid supplementation. FRAs block the transport of folate across the blood brain barrier.

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The finding, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, paves the way for more studies. The hope is that a blood test could be developed to pinpoint children with autism who benefit from folinic acid. Current therapy is limited to medications that can cause side effects. There is no approved treatment for symptoms of the disorder.

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