The bacteria in a child’s gut differ if they have autism, from what would be experienced in a healthy child. And an ‘autism-specific probiotic’ might well be able to treat the disease, researchers suggested.
Research led by Elaine Hsiao of the California Institute of Technology, induced autism-like behavior in the offspring from pregnant mice, and then fed some a bacterium called Bacteriodes fragilis, which is known to boost the immune system. This resulted in a significant reduction in problem behavior.
Since the American Microbiome project started (a $170 million project involving 200 top scientists across America) research has shown that a lack of diversity amongst gut bacteria is the linked to a number of illnesses from type-2 diabetes to cancer and also Alzheimer’s. Increaasingly it is becoming clear that gut bacteria can affect both your physical and psychological health.
The American Gut Project (a crowd funded development) will even analyse your gut bacteria to tell you what illnesses you have or are at risk from. All the latest research suggests your gut bacteria suffer first, and then you become ill; not the other way round.
Ref: Jack A. Gilbert, Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown, Dorota L. Porazinska, Sophie J. Weiss, Rob Knight. Toward Effective Probiotics for Autism and Other Neurodevelopmental Disorders. Cell, 2013; 155 (7): 1446 DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2013.11.035