Exploring the Potential Link between Autism and Bacteria

Therapies and Resources for Children with Autism & Families

Scientists have long studied the potential link between autism and bacteria. This research is again in national headlines because of emerging evidence that studying “gut bacteria,” the bacteria that is found in our digestive tracts, can predict future disease or health issues including neurological disorders such as autism.

Our digestive tracts contain millions of single-cell organisms called microbes. This gut bacteria is important and beneficial to our bodies. It helps protect us against harmful bacteria, produces vitamins, and aids in our digestion of food. However, over hundreds of years, scientists believe the balance of microbes in our digestive tracts has been altered by changes in our society, such as the growing use of antibiotics and disinfectants.

An altered balance of microbes in the digestive tract could create harmful compounds that cause damage to the body and the brain. At a recent Nobel forum, a group of scientists associated changes in gut bacteria with the development of diseases such as some cancers and obesity, as well as neurodevelopmental conditions including autism and other disorders.

A previous study conducted by researchers at Arizona State University analyzed the bacterial waste products in stool samples from a group of children with autism. When they compared the samples from autistic children to those from children not on the autism spectrum, they found the autistic children had abnormal concentrations of digestive bacteria. Some studies connect these abnormal bacteria concentrations with the symptoms of autism.

Researchers believe that by continuing to explore the link between autism and gut bacteria, they can determine more effective treatments for the symptoms of autism and other neurological disorders.

For more information about autism, contact the team at Peak Potential Therapy. We provide caring, on-site therapies and expert advice.