Autism symptoms reduced by 50% in children who received fecal transplants, study finds

Fecal transplants have drastically reduced the symptoms of autism in children, new research shows.

Symptoms nearly halved in 18 children considering treatment – medically known as transfer of microbiota therapy.

The study builds on the theory that the neurological condition may be rooted in the gut rather than the brain.

Two years after the transplant, children saw about 45 percent fewer problems with language, social interaction and behavior.

Children with autism had much less behavioral and language symptoms after a fecal transplant, a new study says (file image)

Children with autism had much less behavioral and language symptoms after a fecal transplant, a new study says (file image)

Dr. Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown, a microbiologist at Arizona State University, who led the study together, said: "We find a very strong connection between the microbes that live in our gut and signals that travel to the brain."

& # 39; Two years later the children are doing even better, which is great. & # 39;

Initially, 83 percent of the participants were assessed as someone with & # 39; serious & # 39; autism.

By the end this had dropped to 17 percent – with 39 percent classified as & # 39; mild to moderate & # 39; and 44 percent below the cut-off for even mild ASD.

Recent research suggests that our gut bacteria, or & # 39; microbiome & # 39 ;, affect communication between brain cells and overall neurological health.

There is a growing worldwide interest in the idea that abnormal amounts of certain errors can be responsible for triggering different circumstances.

& # 39; Many children with autism have gastrointestinal problems and some studies, including ours, have shown that those children also have worse autism-related symptoms, & # 39; said Dr. Krajmalnik-Brown.

& # 39; In many cases, if you are able to treat those gastrointestinal problems, their behavior improves. & # 39;

More than 700,000 people in the UK are autistic, which means that 2.8 million people have a family member on the spectrum. In the US, approximately one in 59 children is diagnosed with autism, one in 150 in 2000.

The apparent increase and lack of treatments has encouraged researchers to enter the field and explore the handicap in innovative ways.

These include behavioral, speech and social therapy, psychiatric drugs and nutritional and nutritional approaches.

But no drugs have been approved to treat core symptoms, such as problems with social communication and repetitive behavior.

A promising method consists of collecting microbes that live in our intestines and help us digest food, train our immune system and prevent the overgrowth of harmful bacteria.

The study published in Scientific Reports showed that most of the first improvements in bowel complaints remained.

In addition, parents reported a slow steady decrease in ASD symptoms, both during treatment and over the next two years.

Up to 50 percent of autistic patients have chronic gastrointestinal (GI) problems, mainly constipation and diarrhea that can persist for many years.

That discomfort and pain can cause irritability, reduced attention and learning and negatively influence behavior.

A previous study with the antibiotic vancomycin found important temporary improvements in GI and autism symptoms.

But the benefits were lost a few weeks after stopping treatment despite the use of freely available probiotics.

Dr. Krajmalnik-Brown and colleagues & # 39; s demonstrated by transferring healthy microbiota to individuals missing certain intestinal bacteria, it is possible to & # 39; donate & # 39; a more diverse range of bacteria to the patient. and improve health.

The therapy included pre-treatment with vancomycin, bowel cleansing, a gastric acid inhibitor and daily poo transplants for seven to eight weeks.

In the beginning, the children appeared to have a lower diversity in their respective gut microbes and were exhausted from certain strains of beneficial bacteria, such as Bifidobacteria and Prevotella.

Dr. Krajmalnik-Brown said: & # 39; Children with autism lack important beneficial bacteria and have fewer options in the bacteria menu of important functions that bacteria provide to the intestinal tract than children who develop normally. & # 39;

Treatment significantly increased microbial diversity and the presence of beneficial bacteria, including Bifidobacteria and Prevotella.

After two years the diversity was even greater and the presence of useful microbes remained.

The work is not only about treating patients, but also about learning how to develop better formulations and optimize dosage.

Dr. Krajmalnik-Brown said: & # 39; Understanding which microbes and chemicals produced by the microbes are pushing these behavioral changes is at the core of our work. & # 39;

Two years after treatment, participants still stopped with an average 58 percent reduction in GI symptoms.

In addition, the parents of most of the 18 participants reported & # 39; a slow but steady improvement in core ASD symptoms & # 39 ;.

Each family completed the study and returned two years later for a follow-up evaluation.

Treatment was generally well tolerated with minimal side effects.

Fecal transplants were pioneered more than 30 years ago by Dr. Thomas Borody, an Australian gastroenterologist at the Center for Digestive Diseases in Sydney.

He said: & # 39; I would call it the highest improvement in a cohort that anyone has achieved for autism symptoms. & # 39;

Co-author Dr. Greg Caporaso, a leading microbiome data science expert at Northern Arizona University, says the team & # 39; enthusiastic & # 39; is.

But larger clinical trials with hundreds of autistic children are required before it can be approved as a treatment by the US Food and Drug Administration.

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