It is estimated that one in every 59 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Current treatments for ASD include several different therapies, such as behavioral therapy, speech and social therapy, psychiatric drugs, and dietary methods.
However, these treatments cannot effectively treat the core symptoms of ASD.
Recently, researchers from Arizona State University have found that a new therapy called Microbiota Transfer Therapy (MTT) could cut autism symptoms by half.
This is the first study in the world showing long-term benefits of MTT in reducing autism symptoms in children.
The finding supports the idea that gut microbiome can play a big role in autism treatment.
The gut microbiome is the collection of microbes that live in our intestines and helps us digest food, train the immune system. It can prevent harmful bacteria from overgrowth.
Previous research has shown that many kids with autism have gut problems. When these gut conditions are treated, the autistic kids’ behavior improves.
In this study, the team tested the long-term beneficial effects of the revolutionary technique MTT, which is a special type of fecal transplant.
The therapy involves 10 weeks of treatment, including pre-treatment with vancomycin, a bowel cleanses, a stomach acid suppressant, and fecal microbiota transfer daily for seven to eight weeks.
The team found that improvements in gut health and autism symptoms in autistic children could persist for a long time after the treatment.
Parents reported a slow steady reduction of core ASD symptoms, such as social communication problems and repetitive behaviors, during treatment and over the next two years.
At the beginning of the study, about 83% of children 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 finding supports a very strong connection between the microbes that live in the intestines and signals that travel to the brain.
The team says that their work is not only about treating autism patients but also about learning from the treatment to develop better formulations and optimize dosing.
The lead author is Dae-Wook Kang, Ph.D.
The study is published in Scientific Reports.
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