In a new study out of Cal Tech, research has shown that specific gastrointestinal therapy has been shown to reduce autism in mice. The gut microbe therapy has been shown previously to treat things like obesity and C. Diff infection but this is the first therapy that could actually help with mental disorders as well. Scientists have long postulated that the gastrointestinal difficulties that people with autism face, could actually be at the heart of the disease.
The autistic mice who were given health human gut microbes were found to find relief from both autism and their intestinal difficulties. The results come from Cal Tech's Division of Biology and Biological Engineering and lead author, Elaine Hsiao.
Those who are on the autism spectrum face a variety of symptoms including; delayed or absent social skills, behaviour problems, language difficulties, repetitive or erratic movements, and others. Because autism is a spectrum, Elaine Hsiao made it clear that more research will be needed to determine the effectiveness of the microbe therapy. While the research was being conducted it was found that the "autistic mice" were found to be lacking a specific microbe in their intestines called, Bacteroides fragilis, that the wild mice did have. After the specific bacteria was introduced through food, both behaviour problems and gastrointestinal difficulties subsided.
The Cal Tech study is the first of its kind to address the correlation between the gastrointestinal difficulties that those with autism face and the disease itself. Research has been showing, of late how connected the human body really is. Exercise has been proven to lower depression symptoms by almost 45% and WebMD states that exercise is an effective and underused treatment for depression.
The potential for, perhaps not a cure, but at least a reduction of the symptoms of autism is a great step forward for science, although much more work will need to be done to address how the microbe treatment will affect humans.
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