This week’s podcast includes a summary of the new study, this time in an animal model, looking at microbiome transplantation. Because this was more of an experimental model, the researchers could be more rigorous in their design and look at things like behavior, brain activity, and specific biological pathways. While a mouse does not have autism, transplantation of the autism microbiome resulted in autistic-like behaviors. Second, a hopeful message of the value of participating in research on outcomes – those infants that were tracked prospectively showed improved outcomes later on, suggesting that all of the extra attention they get leads to a reduction in symptoms and an improvement in adaptive behavior. Even if you do not have a family history of autism – participate in research. It’s good for your child, and it’s good for other people’s children. Listen to the podcast here.
You may have heard on the internet that a new “radical” treatment leads to a “50% reduction” in autism symptoms. This radical treatment is fecal transplants, which is taking the bacteria from the feces from one person and putting them in another person. This is a still experimental treatment, and while the microbiome should be researched more in regards to its relationship to autism, there might be a less invasive way to alter the microbiome which could stand up to the rigor of a well designed trial. Also this week, new prevalence data on 4 year olds across multiple years. Did it change across time, and is it different from 8 year olds, and why is this difference important? Listen to the podcast here.
This week’s ASF Podcast is a special interview with Dr. Gil Sharon from CalTech, who studies the microbiome in animal models and potential link to ASD. The microbiome is the full community of bacteria that live in our bodies and outnumber cells 10-1. They can affect the genome directly and they can respond to environmental factors which means they may be a site for important gene x environment interactions in autism. Some people with ASD, especially those with gastrointestinal problems, show alterations in the microbiome and more and more scientists are starting to incorporate studying this complex system into their research. Most importantly, new research is suggesting potential for probiotic therapies to not only treat GI symptoms, but also core autism symptoms. To hear the podcast, click here: http://asfpodcast.org/?p=404