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Fecal Transplant Reduced Kids' Autism Severity 47%

9 comments, 122 views, posted 2:56 am 15/04/2019 in Health by HariSeldon
HariSeldon has 6869 posts, 3648 threads, 983 points
Uber God

Radical Fecal Transplant Therapy in Kids Has Reduced Their Autism Severity by 47%
MIKE MCRAE
10 APR 2019

Transforming the microbial environment in the guts of children diagnosed with autism could significantly ease the severity of their condition's signature traits, according to newly published research.

A study on the effects of a form of faecal transplant therapy in children on the autism spectrum found participants not only experienced fewer gut problems, but continued to show ongoing improvements in autism symptoms two years after the procedure.

Arizona State University researchers had already discovered a dose of healthy gut microflora caused characteristics associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to ease or vanish for at least a couple of months after treatment ended.

But to be taken seriously as a potential therapy, there needed to be long term improvements. So a return to the original group of volunteers for another check-up was in order.

It turned out those new microbes were settling in nicely.

"In our original paper in 2017, we reported an increase in gut diversity together with beneficial bacteria after microbiota transfer therapy (MTT), and after two years, we observed diversity was even higher and the presence of beneficial microbes remained," says biotechnologist Dae-Wook Kang.

The gut might seem like an odd place to start in developing therapies that assist individuals with a neurological condition such as autism.

But in addition to its defining characteristics of impaired social and communication skills, sensory challenges, and reduced core strength and motor control, for up to half of those with ASD the condition can come with a bunch of gut problems.

"Many kids with autism have gastrointestinal problems, and some studies, including ours, have found that those children also have worse autism-related symptoms," says environmental engineer Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown.

Previous studies have repeatedly pointed to the potential benefits of swapping out a 'bad' microbial communities for a better one, either through using probiotics or courses of antibiotics.

Most showed promising short-term effects, suggesting there was more to be explored when it comes to gut-based therapies.

"In many cases, when you are able to treat those gastrointestinal problems, their behaviour improves," says Krajmalnik-Brown.

In an attempt to elicit a more long-term result, the researchers pulled out the big guns. Forget dropping in a few microbial tourists or killing off a handful of trouble-makers – they went for a whole mass migration.

Using a customised process of gut microflora transplantation called microbiota transfer therapy, the researchers gave 18 kids aged between 7 and 16 a belly full of new microorganisms.

All of the volunteers had both an autism diagnosis and moderate to severe gastrointestinal problems. This group was compared with 20 equivalent control subjects who had neither gut problems nor an ASD diagnosis.

Both were treated for 10 weeks and then had follow-up test sessions for a further 8 weeks.

Admittedly, the experiment wasn't blinded, so we do need to be cautious in how we read into the results. Placebo effects can't be ruled out in cases like this.

But saying they were 'promising' isn't too strong a claim to make. The children not only experienced an 80 percent reduction in gastrointestinal symptoms, they showed significant improvements when tested with common ASD diagnostic tools.

Two years later, those same tests indicate the conditions have only improved.

"The team's new publication reports that the study demonstrated that two years after treatment stopped the participants still had an average of a 58 percent reduction in GI symptoms compared to baseline," says Krajmalnik-Brown.

"In addition, the parents of most participants reported a slow but steady improvement in core ASD symptoms."

An external evaluation using a standard ASD diagnostic tool concluded 83 percent of the initial test group could be considered as severe on the autistic spectrum. Two years later, this dropped to just 17 percent.

Amazingly, 44 percent no longer made the cut-off for being on the mild end of the spectrum at all.

Overall, the evaluator determined the severity of ASD traits was reduced by 47 percent compared with their baseline.

For a therapy that has barely any side-effects, and such remarkable improvements in challenges many with ASD struggle with, it's surely a treatment that will continue to attract attention for further research.

Faecal transplants
might sound a little gross, but you might as well get used to them. We're bound to be seeing them used for a variety of things in the future, from treating superbugs to winning sports.

Now that we're learning our neurological health is intimately connected with our digestive system, transplanting microbial communities from a healthy gut is seen as the next big thing in treating brain disorders.

This isn't to say microflora cause autism. It's a complex condition that has its roots in a diverse range of genes and environmental influences that nudge the brain's development early in life.

But if we can swap out even a few of those influences, we just might be able to make life a little easier for those who need it.

This research was published in Scientific Reports.

Extra Points Given by:

Flee (5), Quaektem (10), Vormid (5), tamsnod27 (5), REALITY (5), backroom (5), evolution (5)

Comments

2
5:23 am 17/04/2019

backroom

Quote by HariSeldon:
An external evaluation using a standard ASD diagnostic tool concluded 83 percent of the initial test group could be considered as severe on the autistic spectrum. Two years later, this dropped to just 17 percent.
Amazingly, 44 percent no longer made the cut-off for being on the mild end of the spectrum at all.
Overall, the evaluator determined the severity of ASD traits was reduced by 47 percent compared with their baseline.


Is it possible that in those 2 years the subjects simply learned and adjusted to the world around them?
Could similar results be found in test subjects without fecal transplants?

3
5:35 am 17/04/2019

Quaektem

I've been following research on this for over a decade. First the absurdity made it entertaining but the more discovered about how much of 'us' isn't 'us' (genetically speaking) it has started to intrigue me.

As for autism, My sister and I have the same genetic background. My wife and her husband are both Mediterranean (Italy/Malta). His brother has two kids without any of them being on the autistic spectrum, she and her husband have three out of four with it, I have zero out of four. My other sister has two, both with it (her spouse's gene are Gaelic/French and his sister has one out of two with it).

I did two things different than my sisters. Knowing a genetic disposition to immunization (thanks DAD) I altered the pace of their shots. They all got them, but instead of getting five or six shots every six months we brought them in to get two or three every couple months. My ex wasn't as fastidious at sanitation (never mind picking up shit) as most, we regularly camped in the woods, and they ran around during the summer outside digging and playing in the dirt. Neither of my sisters allowed anything like that.

I don't know what caused the challenges my nieces and nephews face. I am fortunate to have avoided it in my family. The research into both this and the causes/treatments of autism intrigues me. Perhaps the over-abundance of antibiotics and anti-bacterial soaps is causing issues.

Quote by HariSeldon:
For a therapy that has barely any side-effects, and such remarkable improvements in challenges many with ASD struggle with, it's surely a treatment that will continue to attract attention for further research.



Barely any side effects... yet. We can't forget that e-coli is a dangerous but vital bacteria. This hasn't been scientifically vetted, we don't know if pro-biotics are just as effective without risk of infection, and the risk of serious infection from a poorly administered 'transfusion' is real. I'm a long way from 'lining up' but I'll be watching the research.

1
5:49 am 17/04/2019

evolution

Sooo... it's not the vaccines?

2
9:00 am 17/04/2019

Flee

the study that most people note as vaccines causing autism has been full retracted by the publisher and the author lost his medical license, so yes

1
11:22 am 17/04/2019

REALITY

Fight for the right to be Autistic!

1
4:28 pm 17/04/2019

evolution

Well, shit.

2
4:37 am 18/04/2019

Quaektem

Quote by evolution:
Sooo... it's not the vaccines?



I don't think it's the vaccines so much as not doing too many at the same time for certain genetic profiles... and even then I wouldn't say that austsm isn't the only result (or that it's the only cause of autism). Most of the increase in autism over the last thirty years is a better, broader understanding of it. I wasn't even worried about autism when I made the choice. My father and I (and my sisters) have bad reactions to vaccines. Hell, I had my tetinous shot last month and I'm still feeling it. I just didn't want to slam the kids all at once, and given how sick they got after each vaccination I'm glad I did.

0
11:39 am 18/04/2019

backroom

Quote by Quaektem:
Most of the increase in autism over the last thirty years is a better, broader understanding of it.


While we have learned more I bet it has more to do with environmental factors...
Things like PFOA and PFOS being found in the human body. Developed in the late 40's and widely used thru the 50's 60's and 70's...
The timing is just about perfect to be a major factor in the increase of autism as well as birth defects and various cancers.
We may as well have been drinking lead paint.
Thank you, DuPont and 3M!

0
11:41 am 18/04/2019

backroom

It is one thing to be full of shit.
But being full of someone else's shit?
Just join TEOTI.

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