Changing diet may treat autism

BEIJING: Altering the make-up of bacteria in the gut through diet, pro-and prebiotic supplements, faecal matter transplants or antibiotics might reduce the symptoms of autism, suggests new research.

Changing diet may treat autism

Photo source: Thinkstock

Beijing

Altering the make-up of bacteria in the gut through diet, pro-and prebiotic supplements, faecal matter transplants or antibiotics might reduce the symptoms of autism, suggests new research.

The findings, published in the journal Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, are based on a review of more than 150 papers on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and gut bacteria.

The review highlighted many studies showing that restoring a healthy balance in gut bacteria can treat ASD symptoms.

"Efforts to restore the gut microbiota to that of a healthy person has been shown to be really effective" explained Qinrui Li of Peking University, China.

"Our review looked at taking probiotics, prebiotics, changing the diet — for example, to gluten — and casein-free diets, and faecal matter transplants. All had a positive impact on symptoms," Li added.

These include such things as increased sociability, a reduction in repetitive behaviour, and improved social communication — all hugely beneficial to the life of an ASD sufferer.

"To date there are no effective therapies to treat this range of brain developmental disorders," Li pointed out.

"The number of people being diagnosed with ASD is on the rise. As well as being an expensive condition to manage, ASD has a huge emotional and social cost on families of sufferers," Li said.

The link between the gut and ASD is well known among sufferers: Problems like diarrhoea, constipation and flatulence are commonly reported.

The root of gastro-intestinal problems like these is an imbalance of "good" and "bad" bacteria in the gut.

Many of the papers reviewed support the idea of a gut-brain axis - a way in which factors in the gut can affect processes in the brain.

So these gastro-intestinal problems may have a more sinister side. The overgrowth of bad bacteria in the gut inevitably leads to an overproduction of by-products - including toxins.

These can make the gut lining more permeable. Then toxins, by-products and even undigested food can get into the bloodstream and travel to the brain.

In a child under three years old, whose brain is at the height of development, the presence of these chemicals can impair neuro-development, leading to ASD, the researchers said.

"ASD is likely to be a result of both genetic and environmental factors" Li said. — IANS

Don't Miss

Arrival of pets has been the exact disruption we needed

Arrival of pets has been the exact disruption we needed

Modi to Ganguly, how different is BCCI?

Modi to Ganguly, how different is BCCI?

Sins of the father & the aftermath

Sins of the father & the aftermath

Summer of 69, in Himalayas

Summer of 69, in Himalayas

Congress in need of overhaul

Congress in need of overhaul

Top Stories

Himachal enforces night curfew in Covid-affected Shimla, Mandi, Kullu, Kangra districts

Himachal enforces night curfew in Covid-affected Shimla, Mandi, Kullu, Kangra districts

The fine for not wearing masks has been increased from Rs 50...

Supreme Court pulls up Delhi, Gujarat over worsened Covid situation

Supreme Court pulls up Delhi, Gujarat over worsened Covid situation

Seeks status reports by Thursday; further hearing on Friday

Rail services resume in Punjab; coal rakes reach Banawala thermal plant

Rail services resume in Punjab; coal rakes reach Banawala thermal plant

17 trains to run in Punjab, J&K from November 24

Former Assam CM Tarun Gogoi dies at 84

Former Assam CM Tarun Gogoi dies at 84

The 84-year-old three-time Assam CM was admitted to GMCH aft...

Youth shoots self dead after killing ex-girlfriend, her parents in Bathinda

Youth shoots self dead after killing ex-girlfriend, her parents in Bathinda

In video, he accused the trio of threatening to slap rape ch...

Cities

View All