My thanks go to the doctor who sent me a book that contains details of the papers produced at a conference on Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin). It’s refreshing to know that some of the greatest minds are now concentrating on the many issues surrounding this amazing vitamin that I, along with the vast majority of the members of the PA Society cannot absorb from food.

Here’s a list of the papers that were discussed and I’m sure you will find it heartening that, contrary to what some people believe, the problems associated with the vitamin and folate are the centre of attention of a dedicated group of scientists and doctors:

  1. Recent Developments in Cobalamin Metabolism
    Conversion of cyanocobalamin to metabolically active cobalamin
    Utilization of Cobalamins in man
    Homocysteine-methionine isomerizations
    The Methylfolate trap
    Unknown metabolic pathways involving cobalamins
  2. Thin-layer Chromatography in Vitamin B12 and its Coenzymes
  3. Investigations of B12 Metabolism using Chromatography and Bio-autography of Individual Cobalamins
    Method of Estimation of Total Vitamin B12 and individual cobalamins
    Methylcobalamin/Deoxyadenosylcobalamin
    Deoxyadenosylcobalamin is the most prominent
  4. Diol Dehydrase – its use in the Specific Assay of 5’-Deoxyadenosylcobalamin
  5. Transport of Cobalamins Across the Gut Wall
    Cyanocobalamin is the best
  6. Protein-Mediated Uptake of Vitamin B12 by Cells in the Tissue
    Transcobalamin I and Transcobalamin II (Holotranscobalamin)
    The Binding of TCII
    Substances that Inhibit Cell Uptake of B12
  7. Absorption of Vitamin B12: The Role of the Ileal Mitochondrion
    Role of mitochondria in the metabolism of cyanocobalamin
    Site of Cleavage of B12/IF complex
    Vitamin B12 Binders in the Ileum
  8. Metabolism of Vitamin B12 in the Kidney at Subcellular Level
  9. Cobalamin and Folate Interrelationships
  10. The Metabolic Effects of an Impaired Methylmalonyl CoA Mutase
  11. Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid in Brain Metabolism
  12. Cobalamins and Cyanide Metabolism in Neurological Disease
    Tobacco Amblyopia
    Tropical Amblyopia and Tropical Neuropathy
    Leber’s Hereditary Optic Atrophy
    Sub-Acute Combined Degeneration of the Cord Secondary to PA
  13. Observations on a Case of Sensitivity to Vitamin B12
    Impurities in Preparations
  14. A Screening of the Metabolism of Radioactive Methylcobalamin in Man
  15. Studies of Cobalamin Metabolism
  16. Whole Body Monitor Studies of Cyanocobalamin Absorption in Normal Patients and in Patients with Vitamin B12 Malabsorption
  17. Therapeutic Response to Large Oral Doses of Cobalamin
    “I am very suspicious of this 1% absorption of oral doses”
  18. Some Observations on Vitamin B12 Binding Proteins
  19. Antibody to Transcobalamin II in Patients Treated with Hydroxocobalamin

Good to know that all of these issues surrounding the treatment of Pernicious Anaemia in particular are being looked at.

The Symposium where all of the above were discussed took place on the 18th September.
1970

Now it is easy to suppose that these questions, these important questions, have been forgotten – left behind at the beginning of the decade that brought us Flared Jeans, Jaws, Saturday Night Fever, Watergate, Miners Strikes, my first girlfriend……I could go on.

But to do so would be wrong. Every year, either in Colorado or in France, a similar conference to the one held in September 1970 is held. And the questions that are discussed are remarkably similar. Progress is being made, but it is just that, progress, painfully slow, but progress none the less, with individuals or teams of scientists contributing to the debate. I’ve been at two of these conferences and seen these people in action and I can tell you that they are a passionate and enthusiastic band of investigators from various scientific disciplines who are seeking answers to some very complex issues. The questions being discussed are remarkably similar to those being talked about in 1970, but the personnel involved are different though no less anxious to find the answers to these questions.

We, the Pernicious Anaemia Society, are always willing to contribute what we can in terms how these questions are affecting our members. Hopefully this involvement will become greater in the future. For the time being – let’s just be thankful that there are these incredibly clever people concentrating on finding the answers to these difficult questions about B12 and its absorption at cell level because that seems to be where most of our problems with adequate treatment lie.
And my first girlfriend? Believe it or not she joined the society earlier on in the year.
Ho Hum! Halcyon Days!

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