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Intestinal bacteria unique to autism discovered


Any one familiar with autism knows that the disorder has a relationship to gastrointestinal problems. The what and why are unknown. New research results may shed the light on the relationship between gut problems and autism. The scientists have found that many children with autism have a type of bacteria in their intestines that non-autistic children do not. The results of the study come from Brent Williams and colleagues at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University.

Earlier research has revealed that autistic individuals have gastrointestinal symptoms including inflammation and other abnormalities in both upper and lower tracts. Scientists do not know the source of the inflammation or how it relates to autism or if it does relate to autism at all.

“The relationship between different microorganism and the host and the outcomes for disease and development is an exciting issue,” said Christine A. Biron, the Brintzenhoff Professor of Medical Science at Brown University and editor of the study. “This paper is important because it starts to advance the question of how the resident microbes interact with a disorder that is poorly understood.”

It is the bacteria Sutterella that has been found in the intestines of autistic children and not at all in the guts of non-autistic kids. Why that is remains unclear, but surely, the researchers feel, it is significant.

For children with autism, digestive disorders can be a serious issue. They are linked to behavioral issues and physical ailments. Researchers stress that while the study is statistically powerful and potentially very exciting, future research is necessary.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Columbia University

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