Children with autism have a distinct collection of beneficial gut bacteria.

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Children with autism have different social and developmental characteristics than their typically developing peers. Researchers now claim that there are differences in their array of healthy gut bacteria, or “microbiome.”

According to the authors of a new small study, the findings could lead to earlier treatment for children with autism spectrum disorder.

According to study author Siew Ng of the Chinese University of Hong Kong and colleagues, the gut microbiome can vary depending on where people live, but the findings show “for the first time that the gut microbiota of children with [autism] is abnormally developed and lags that of age-matched peers.”

Previous research has suggested that the gut microbiome is involved in autism.

Furthermore, evidence suggests that the gut-brain axis, which connects gut bacteria to the central nervous system, has a strong influence on social behaviours.

 

To find out more, the researchers compared the microbiomes of 64 autistic children and 64 typically developing children in China. The children ranged in age from three to six years.

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The range, volume, and associated functions of bacteria in the children’s stool samples were evaluated by the researchers.

They discovered that people with autism have a unique and underdeveloped range and volume of gut bacteria that is unrelated to diet.

Kids with an autism spectrum disorder had significantly fewer bacteria linked to neurotransmitter activity and five species of bacteria that aren’t typically found in the guts of children without the condition.

According to the study’s authors, these differences were confirmed in a separate group of eight children with autism and ten without.

The findings were published online in the journal Gut on Monday.

According to the authors, the findings suggest that there may be a distinct microbial profile for autism, which may allow for early treatment of the condition.

They also stated that a thorough investigation is required. There is currently no definitive test for autism spectrum disorder.

“As development of microbial communities within the [gastrointestinal] tract during childhood represents a critical window of human growth and health, shifts in the gut microbiota during early life development may have important functional roles in the [progression of autism spectrum disorder],” the authors said in a journal news release.

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They added there may be a potential role for non-invasive prediction of autism based on fecal bacteria markers and age-related bacteria development profiles.

More informationThe Autism Society has more on autism.

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