Findings Suggest Link Between Deficiencies in Gut Microbes, Autism Spectrum Disorder

November 2, 2020 09:05:54

A group of researchers associated with various institutions in China has discovered a gut microbe deficiency in children who develop ASD (autism spectrum disorder). This is a developmental disability characterized by stereotyped and repetitive behavior and impaired social communication. In the research, which was published in the “Science Advances” journal, the team of researchers describes their study of gut microbes in autism spectrum disorder children and discusses their findings.

Previous research had suggested that issues with the gut microbiome may be the cause of the development of ASD in the affected children. However, what those issues might be still remains a mystery. In an effort to discover these issues, this research team took a step forward in helping to solve that mystery through their research.

The research involved the collection of stool samples from 40 children who were not on the autism spectrum and an additional 39 subjects who had been diagnosed with ASD. The researchers also took into account the children’s age, the location they lived in and other additional factors.

The reason for identifying gut biome differences is because differences are common between individuals. Each of the stool samples collected underwent metagenomic sequencing. This is the genomic analysis of DNA of microbiota from environmental communities. The purpose of this was to identify whether there is a distinguishable difference between the children who did not have ASD and those who did.

The team of researchers focused primarily on 18 microbiota species that had been linked to autism spectrum disorder in previous research. Doing this helped the team discover differences in the detoxifying enzyme ratios in children with ASD when compared to those of children who do not have ASD. The researchers then tested an additional 65 children who’d been diagnosed with ASD and found the same results.

These findings led the researchers to suggest that autism spectrum disorder may develop in children because the detoxification process in the gut was affected by a compromised gut microbiome. This allowed environmental toxins to enter the bloodstream, where they damaged mitochondria in brain cells, which ultimately led to the development of symptoms related to ASD.

The researchers say that despite the extensive research already done, more work is needed. They suggest that developing a therapy that helps in the detoxification process is possible. This, they say, might help prevent the onset of autism spectrum disorder. The developed therapy may potentially be used to overpower elements that cause the detoxification issues.

Lots of companies are putting the discoveries made about different health conditions to good use. One biomed company you need to watch is AzurRx BioPharma Inc. (NASDAQ: AZRX). AzurRx focuses on using recombinant proteins to develop treatments to address gastrointestinal diseases.

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