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.
Parents have choices of dozens of different autism interventions, available in private and public settings. A new study explores factors which influence parents decisions on different interventions, how they are similar to each other and different. They include cognitive ability of their kids with ASD and economic resources. Parents in the US may have similarities in how they obtain interventions, but they are also similar in how they identify autism signs in their preschool kids, and these similarities are seen across the world. In a new study of over 19,000 preschoolers with autism, some similarities are seen in parent reported symptoms of ASD across 24 different countries. This is pretty remarkable given societal, geographical, and cultural issues. But it’s not all harmony and unity – there were lots of differences between parents and teachers which can have enormous impact on how autism is diagnosed worldwide. 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.
On this week’s podcast, Dr. Tracy Yuen of University of Toronto and the Hospital for Sick Children explains two different analyses of cost-effectiveness which looked at 1) universal screening for ASD and 2) use of genomic sequencing to identify novel variants in people with ASD.