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Fecal transplants led to long-term reduction in autism symptoms, study reports

A study by Arizona State University researchers found that transforming gut microbiomes led to a significant reduction in autism symptoms.

WJLA, Apr 13, 2019

A study by Arizona State University researchers said that a clinical trial done on 18 children with autism that involved transforming their gut microbiomes through fecal transplants led to a significant reduction in symptoms.

"Professional evaluation revealed a 45% decrease in ASD symptoms compared to baseline," stated a press release from the ASU Biodesign Institute. "Researchers note that although there may be some placebo effect, much of that effect appears to be real. At the start of the study, 83% of participants were rated as “severe” autism. At the end of the study, only 17% were “severe,” 39% were “mild/moderate,” and 44% were below the cut-off for mild ASD."

The study, published April 9, followed up with the participants two years after the transplants and found a reduction in core autism spectrum disorder symptoms like language, social interaction and behavior.

Doctors have known of a connection between ASD and gastrointestinal disorders for years, but this study was based off of a newer theory that your gut microbiome can affect the brain, due to interplay between the GI tract and the central nervous system.

"An earlier study with only vancomycin (an antibiotic) had found major temporary improvements in GI and autism symptoms, but the benefits were lost a few weeks after treatment stopped despite use of over-the-counter probiotics," ASU said.

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