JAN 29, 2017 9:08 AM PST

Fecal Transplants Might be Used to Treat Autism

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

A new study by investigators at Arizona State University has indicated that medications affecting gut microbes resulting in improved autism symptoms in human patients. A research team observed 18 people aged seven to 16 that had been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. For eight weeks, the participants were either treated with a bowel cleanse, antibiotics, or daily doses of fecal microbes. There was over 80 percent improvement in gastrointestinal symptoms - previously associated with ASD - and a 20 to 25 percent improvement in some behaviors associated with autism like social dysfunction.

"The results were very compelling," commented James Adams, ASU president's professor of materials science and engineering and study author. "We completed a Phase 1 trial demonstrating safety and efficacy, but recommending such treatment and bringing it to market requires Phase 2 and Phase 3 trials. We look forward to continuing research on this treatment method with a larger, placebo-controlled trial in the future."

"We saw a big increase in microbe diversity and a big increase in certain bacteria, especially Prevotella, which we previously found was low in children with autism spectrum disorders," said Dae-Wook Kang, researcher at Biodesign Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology and co-author of the study.

The researchers stress that future studies will needed, including larger patient groups and placebo controls.

Source: UPI, AutismSpeaks.org
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