Review of Autism, DNA and the Microbiome

It has been some 18 months since my last posts on autism

An update on new studies since then:

Right side is Autism Associated.

Treatment Implications

” we found that treatment with L. reuteri selectively rescues social deficits in genetic, environmental, and idiopathic ASD models. Interestingly, the effects of L. reuteri on social behavior are not mediated by restoring the composition of the host’s gut microbiome, which is altered in all of these ASD models. Instead, L. reuteri acts in a vagus nerve-dependent manner and rescues social interaction-induced synaptic plasticity in the ventral tegmental area of ASD mice, but not in oxytocin receptor-deficient mice. Collectively, treatment with L. reuteri emerges as promising non-invasive microbial-based avenue to combat ASD-related social dysfunction. ”

Mechanisms Underlying Microbial-Mediated Changes in Social Behavior in Mouse Models of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

There is promising evidence to suggest that probiotic therapy may improve gastrointestinal dysfunction, beneficially alter fecal microbiota, and reduce the severity of ASD symptoms in children with ASD. Future research is still warranted in this area because there are methodologic flaws in the available literature and optimal species, strains, dosages, and duration of treatment have not been identified.

Role of Probiotics in Managing Gastrointestinal Dysfunction in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: An Update for Practitioners. [2018]

The results showed that children on exclusion diets reported significantly lower scores of abdominal pain and bowel movement, as well as lower abundance of Bifidobacterium spp. and Veillonellaceae family, but higher presence of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and Bacteroides spp. In addition, significant correlations were found between bacterial populations and faecal amino acids in this group, compared to children following an unrestricted diet. Following B-GOS® intervention, we observed improvements in anti-social behaviour, significant increase of Lachnospiraceae family, and significant changes in faecal and urine metabolites.

A prebiotic intervention study in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). [2018]

Bottom Line

Autism appears to be associated with two major factors: mutations in the DNA, especially in mtDNA. and microbiome. DNA and the microbiome have intense interplay with microbiome shifts likely causing epigenetic changes in DNA in some cases.

Altering the microbiome (although complex to do), promises the greatest hope in moderating the symptoms of Autism and ASD.

I have updated my microbiome analysis site with additional information taken from the various articles cited above for those who have had microbiome done by or others.

For those that have not, there is a Apriori Adjustment page located here.