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Category: Science


Autism and Gut Bacteria – Hope Moving Forward

The prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is continuing to increase in the United States. Current data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that the prevalence of autism currently stands at 1 in 68 children, with incidence rates of 1 in every 42 boys and 1 in every 189 girls.

Without question, it’s been very difficult to try to determine what may be causing this virtual epidemic to be worsening over time. Over the past five years, researchers have been focusing their efforts in an attempt to relate risk for autism to events occurring not in the brain, but in the gut.

This line of research certainly makes sense when you consider how frequently gastrointestinal symptoms are seen in those who are diagnosed with ASD. It is certainly very good news that progressive scientists are embracing the notion that ASD may have its origins, at least to some degree, outside the brain.

Many mechanisms have been proposed as playing a role in the genesis of ASD, including inflammation, environmental toxins, genetics, changes in the immune system, and changes to gut bacteria. And again, it’s beginning to look like all of these possible agents may converge on the health of the gut, initiating changes that ultimately affect the brain and manifest as what we’ve come to call ASD. In fact, gastrointestinal symptoms may be seen in as many as 70% of children who have been diagnosed with ASD.

As was recently published in the journal Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, researchers in China, the Philippines, and the United States made a compelling case for the important role of the gut bacteria in ASD. They focused, for example, on the important role of how the child was born, either vaginally or by cesarean section, in terms of the bacteria that would ultimately colonize his or her gut. Other factors that might play a role during pregnancy include obesity, diet, and even gestational diabetes, all of which have shown some association with ASD.

They also described how children exposed to antibiotics during their first 3 years of life show less diverse bacterial species and strains in their gut bacterial populations and how this may relate to ASD risk. Further, the researchers described how antibiotics taken during pregnancy might also be a potential risk factor for ASD.

Breast-feeding, possibly because of its role in the newborn’s gut bacteria, is associated with a decreased risk for ASD. Interestingly, these types of changes in the gut bacteria are associated with ASD, and are also seen to be also associated with gut-related disorders like Crohn’s disease and inflammatory bowel disease.

The report contains a section titled “Modulation of the Gut Microbiota is a Potential Therapy for Children with ASD”. This fascinating review looks at interventions like probiotics and prebiotics, as well as dietary interventions to reduce intestinal inflammation, as possible therapeutic tools for the treatment of ASD. There is a very in-depth review of all of the literature we have evaluating the effectiveness of these interventions, and it’s certainly worth reviewing. They even review the notion of transplanting human gut microbiota into the intestines of ASD patients, with resulting improvements not only in their gastrointestinal symptoms but also the symptoms related to ASD.

This is an important publication as it calls attention to the importance of viewing ASD holistically, as opposed to simply focusing on the brain. These authors, along with many others, have clearly shown us that changes in the balance of gut organisms are not only common in ASD but may also be playing an important causal role. That said, as we better define our ability to manipulate the gut organisms from a therapeutic perspective, we should certainly feel more hopeful in terms of finally being able to have a substantially positive impact on ASD.

  • Alanna Casey

    When I click the link to the publication, I see the abstract with a button that says “View Study”, but when I click it. the study doesn’t load. It just loops on this page: http://www.drperlmutter.com/study/the-gut-microbiota-and-autism-spectrum-disorders/

  • Kirkmuse

    Steven Sinatra, MD a Cardiologist attributes the dramatic rise in ASD to all the electronic devices, wi-fi, etc that we have today.

  • Bryan Moore

    A very interesting study and one which obviously affects many families. However the figures do not ring true. If you assume that there are roughly as many girls as boys the incidence figures cannot be correct. If 1 in 42 boys are affected and the number of children overall affected are 1 in 68 the number of girls must be close to 1 in 92. It would appear that a 1 has been put in front of the girls figure bringing it to 189.

  • John Brailsford

    What about the vast number of vaccinations American children get, starting 12 hours after birth? These vaccines contain aluminium to cause an inflammation TH2 response. The aluminium gets eaten by microfages which can pass through the brain boundary and with increasing numbers of vaccinations the brains of tiny babies get pumped with excess aluminium. Autism and attention deficit disorder are possible results.

  • Deborah

    What about the role of vaccinations? It is surprising that you do not mention adjuvants such as mercury and aluminium, retroviruses, and the synergistic effects of so many vaccinations!

  • Susan

    What about the common use of ultrasounds in pregnancy? This is highly unnatural and fairly recent.

  • Yvonne Forsman

    Two words: environmental pollution. From toxins in soil, to toxins in food, toxins in water, toxins in air/chemtrails, toxins in vaccines, toxic EMF, nuclear power plants radiation.

    Today I happened to see part of a TV program about a family with two sick kids. It was shocking! I couldn’t watch it to the end. I have a book about autism and have read about it online but I had no idea it can be this bad. The amount of Big Pharma pills the parents put into the bodies of their children was shocking too! One child had autism and schizophrenia, the other one only schizophrenia. They were both seeing and hearing stuff we don’t, and obviously suffering. What a destiny to be a prisoner in such a sick body!! One child was constantly harming itself and they had to use a straitjacket. It was obvious the parents had no clue that organic diet and detox and also medical cannabis help children with these diseases. Their doctor didn’t either. The mass media is equally clueless. It’s like a blind leading another blind! What happened to investigative journalism??

    In this era of our world falling down like a house of cards only functional medicine doctors can help us. And organizations such as Moms Across America, I have watched their uplifting video about organic farming (enclosed link to Communitites Rising, on youtube). There is a way out of this mess, but everyone of us needs to be part of the solution and contribute with e-v-e-r-y- food dollar we spend!!! We need to bankrupt Big Agra, Monsanto, Big Pharma and unethical doctors out of business!!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=147&v=E_61okKFJSQ

  • Melissa

    Two words…okay, one acronym, and one word…GMO and Glyphosate. Monsanto equals human eradication. Do your research.

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