Folinic Acid May Improve Verbal Communication in Autism Interview with:

Richard Eugene Frye MD Child Neurologist and Director of Autism Research Arkansas Children's Hospital Research Institute

Dr. Richard Frye

Richard Eugene Frye MD
Child Neurologist and Director of Autism Research
Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The study is a 12-week double-blind placebo-control clinical trial of folinic acid on improve core and associated symptoms of autism. We found that children that received folinic acid demonstrated significantly more improvement in verbal communication and behavior as compared to those children that received the placebo. In addition we found that a specific blood biomarker called the folate receptor alpha autoantibody predict response to the treatment. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Folinic acid, a safe and well tolerated special form of folate, can improve autism symptoms, particularly verbal communication, in some children with autism and a blood based biomarker may help predict the children that will respond to the treatment.

In addition, there may be many very significant benefits of using a medication like folinic acid.

  • First, our study shows that this treatment address core symptoms of autism not just symptoms.
  • Second, treatment with folinic acid addresses a key biological abnormality that might be a root biological mechanism that causes autism symptoms.
  • Third, folinic acid is a very safe treatment that has been in use in pediatrics for decades. For example, folinic acid has been use in pediatric oncology since the 1950’s. Thus, its safety profile is well known. This is in contrast to many common treatments used for children with autism where the safety is not well-known or that are associated with adverse effects. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Larger multicenter trials are needed to confirm these preliminary findings. Larger sample sizes will allow us to look at additional biomarkers to help better predict which children may respond to the treatment. Long term follow up studies are needed to determine if how long the treatment is required. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


R E Frye, J Slattery, L Delhey, B Furgerson, T Strickland, M Tippett, A Sailey, R Wynne, S Rose, S Melnyk, S Jill James, J M Sequeira, E V Quadros. Folinic acid improves verbal communication in children with autism and language impairment: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Molecular Psychiatry, 2016; DOI:10.1038/mp.2016.168

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

More Medical Research Interviews on

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.