New Study Ties Autism to and Gut Health: So Now What?

( – The gut has long been referred to as ‘the second brain’ and new studies are showing a potential link between the gut and autism. Scientists used a computational strategy; they looked at prior data sets and found a specific microbial signature present in people with autism. They compared this signature with neurotypical (non-autistic) people and found a difference. They say this discovery may offer critical insight into a biological genesis for autism and should pave the way for a new path of research.

Basically, within the gut are millions of microbiomes with are constantly moving about and causing reactions which affect immune response and other body functions. The recent studies found abnormalities within the structures for people suffering autism. This study which was performed by the Simons Foundation’s Autism Research Initiative (SFARI) was the first to find what could be a direct link between immune response, diet and gene expression and shows distinctions between people with autism and those without.

By entering the data they had, looking back at studies from the past and applying this new computation method, researchers believe they found the first ‘autism-specific metabolic pathways’ from the gut to the brain. One of the authors of the study Jamie Morton says this “overlap between gut microbial and human metabolic pathways in autism” has not been seen before. The study was peer reviewed and other researchers concurred with the SFARI conclusions. 

The scientists are excited about future studies this breakthrough could lead to. They speculate that future findings could lead to similar breakthroughs with cancer, depression, Parkinson’s and a number of other ailments. 

Only recently has the medical community on the whole been realizing the true relationship between the gut and the brain. Gut health may be the leading factor to strong brain health. One example is doctors now linking irritable bowel syndrome treatments with cognitive behavioral therapy. One doctor describes it as “the two brains talk” and thus a therapy for one can benefit the other. 

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