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MICROBIOME TRANSPLANTS FOR AUTISM.
May 31, 2017
For several years, research has been investigating whether gut microbiota are implicated in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), either by affecting a range of measurable behavioral characteristics of ASD or by affecting the gastrointestinal (GI) discomfort that often accompanies ASD.
A recent paper published online in the journal Microbiome reports on a small study evaluating the effectiveness of regular microbiome transplants into children with ASD. The results are preliminary but significant. They demonstrate an average 80 percent improvement of GI symptoms associated with ASD and 20-25 percent improvement in autism behaviors, including improved social skills and better sleep habits, among improvements in other measures of autism-related behavior.
Following an 8 week series of small daily transplants, the research team report a big increase in
microbe diversity and a big increase in certain bacteria, especially Prevotella, which they had previously found was low in children with ASD. This shifted gut microbiota of children with ASD toward that of neurotypical children.
These findings support the hypothesis that gut microbiota may be at least partially responsible for GI and behavioral symptoms in ASD.