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Autism may be due to a lack of one type of gut bacterium


So you think autism might be due to too many vaccines given to children, or MMR, or antibiotics, or stressed mothers, or mothers on drugs or …

Underlying all those potential causes could be a single factor.

In studies on mice with autistic defects, the addition of just one bacterium strain in which they were deficient corrected the behavioural defects. The research was conducted by scientists at Baylor College in Houstion and appears in the June 2016 edition of Cell.

Previous studies have linked autism to vaccines, mercury, maternal stress and maternal diet deficiencies prior to birth and more. The underlying issue in all of these is the fundamental damage to the child’s microbiome. It maybe that there are multiple ‘causes’ but only one real driver of autism – a disrupted microbiome. It is common in cases  of autism for the patient to have gut problems, as we have reported before.

The mice were given behavioural deficiencies reminiscent of autism spectrum deficiencies (ASDs) in humans.

“Other research groups are trying to use drugs or electrical brain stimulation as a way to reverse some of the behavioral symptoms associated with neurodevelopmental disorders; but here we have, perhaps, a new approach,” said senior author Dr. Mauro Costa-Mattioli, associate professor of neuroscience at Baylor. “Whether it would be effective in humans, we don’t know yet, but it is an extremely exciting way of affecting the brain from the gut.”

“We cultured a strain of L. reuteri originally isolated from human breast milk and introduced it into the water of the (behaviourally-deficient) offspring. We found that treatment with this single bacterial strain was able to rescue their social behavior”.

Researchers found thatL. reuteri also promoted the production of the “bonding hormone” oxytocin, known to play a role in social behavior, a lack playing a role in autism in humans.