Well that was an interesting two days – one in Oxford and one in London. The reason for all the travelling was a presentation that I was invited to attend at Oxford University by a husband and wife team of researchers who are both now working in academia in Australia.
The presentation featured a new test for B12 that doesn’t simply look at the amount of B12 in the blood but also measures the patient’s Homocysteine, MMA and Folate – a much better test than the one currently used to determine B12 status in patients. The new device uses fibre optics to actually analyse the chemical component of the patient’s blood rather than indicators of blood health – at least that’s what I understood from the highly complex and clever science involved. What is most significant is that the new test, which is still at the prototype stage of development, will use nano technology at its core which means that it will be possible that the device will be small enough to be hand held. And this means that it could, or should, be part of the primary care physicians toolkit enabling the doctor to evaluate the B12 status of the patient quickly and accurately.
I see the real potential of this being used to ‘screen’ the public in primary care setting and that, hopefully, will mean that patients who have B12 Deficiency, whether caused by Pernicious Anaemia or not (and remember that PA is the most common cause of B12 Deficiency) will have the deficiency identified earlier. This is certainly an exciting development.