The symptoms of autism can be reduced 50 percent in children who received fecal transplants, according to a new study.
18 children with autism received the treatment known as microbiota transfer therapy. The study builds on the theory that the condition may be rooted in the digestive system rather than the brain.
2 years after the fecal transplant, children saw about 45 percent dropped in problems with social interaction, behavior, and language.
Dr. Rosa Krajmalmik-Brown, a microbiologist who led the study, said: “We are finding a very strong connection between the microbes that live in our intestines and signals that travel to the brain.
“Two years later, the children are doing even better, which is amazing.”
At the beginning of the study, 83 percent of participants had ‘severe autism.’ But after two years, this had dropped to 17 percent, with 39 percent classed from mild to moderate and 44 percent fell below the cut-off for mild ASD.
The recent study suggests our gut bacteria affect communication between brain cells and neurological health. Abnormal quantities of certain bugs may be accountable for triggering a variety of health conditions.
Dr. Krajmalnik-Brown said: “Many kids with autism have gastrointestinal problems, and some studies, including ours, have found those children also have worse autism-related symptoms.
“In many cases, when you are able to treat those gastrointestinal problems, their behavior improves.”
The study published in Scientific Reports claims most of the initial improvements in symptoms remained. Parents also reported a slow steady decline in ASD symptoms during treatment and over the next 2 years.
Researchers showed by transferring healthy microbiota to people lacking certain bacteria in the gut, it is possible to ‘donate’ a more diverse set of bacteria into patients to improve overall health.
“Kids with autism are lacking important beneficial bacteria, and have fewer options in the bacterial menu of important functions that bacteria provide to the gut than typically developing kids,” Dr. Krajmalnik-Brown said.
“Understanding which microbes and chemicals produced by the microbes are driving these behavioral changes is at the heart of our work.”
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