Autism symptoms replicated in mice after faecal transplants

Hugh

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I was interested in this report (below) of the possibility of gut microbes being linked in some way to "symptoms" of autism.

Does anyone know anything about the validity of this line of experiment? I'll be grateful for any thoughts.....

Please note:
(1) I'm not intending to provoke a discussion on autism, and in any case I'm really not qualified to express any opinion on the subject.
(2) I dislike experiments on animals.

Here's the link:

Autism symptoms replicated in mice after faecal transplants
 

Av Demeisen

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Does this mean I was abducted by aliens and given a faecal transplant shortly after birth?!? sh*t! :eek:
 

Brian G Turner

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The immediate caveat is that symptoms can be superficially similar across a range of conditions, without having an obvious underlying connection. However, I believe autism is commonly associated with autoimmune disorders which can commonly feature digestive intolerances. There's already work (finally!) going on to properly identify the gut flora, and I'm expecting that medication to rebuild gut flora will become commonly available within a decade.

Even still, I'm not convinced that will necessarily result in any easing of general spectrum conditions, but it'll be interesting to see what results actually do come up, especially as other conditions such as Parkinsons are also being directly associated with gut function, and I think there was something recently on dementia. Either way, I see big moves in microbiology common now that we've realized that we are not just individuals but also microbacterial communities. :)
 

Robert Zwilling

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On the one hand the article says it could years to make any real conclusions about what is happening and on the other hand the researchers can identify specific substances they can administer to test subjects and see changes happen immediately. On the other hand, this process has been recorded as early as the 4th century. One of the reasons it was ignored was because it was not western medicine approved and the FDA can't control it the way a pill can always have the same amount and quality of ingredients (well, almost always the quality is under control).

Bacteria are miniature factories that produce specific substances when they eat certain substances. People always want to believe that anything they do never affects anything. This happens with events outside of the body and inside the body. Basically the belief that people can do anything they want to without experiencing consequences is one of the most uniformed paths to follow. It is coming close to the old adage that we are what we eat and this is true on many more levels than suspected. The byproducts of what we eat with impunity could actually be locking us into behavioral patterns that could rival the idea that our lives are predestined by fate, especially if what you eat is not beneficial for you, but you think you like to eat it for cultural, personal, or commercial reasons.
The restoration of a normal intestinal microbiome can be achieved by the transfer of fecal material (FMT) from a healthy donor to the patient, in order to increase the intestinal microbial diversity.

If you want to research this theory that what we put in our fuel tank can have unexpected consequences, try putting strange substances in your car's gas tank every morning and then drive around and see if it makes any difference.

Supposedly there are a couple of distinctly different bacteria populations in different human bodies. It could be based on cultural history or genetic history or both. I vote for both. It's one of those things where there isn't a real choice but we make like there is a choice. The type of bacteria population one is harboring and feeding could be as important as one's blood type. Transferring bacteria willy nilly could have erratic results simply because a person is being fed bacteria they literally can't stomach.

As far as taking years to get to the bottom of this situation, that is patently insane. The bacteria and fungi and viruses are being changed by their interaction with our massive unintentional terraforming of the Earth by the sheer size of our commercial activities. If you want to dream everything gonna turn out all right then of course you don't have to do anything. It will all work out for the best. Question pushing this point in time is is it best for humanity or best for the natural world. The two goals are no longer compatible.
 

Hugh

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These are very interesting and truly informative replies. Many thanks indeed for taking the time to post them. I find this whole approach so totally fresh and unexpected, opening a whole new perspective on the much vexed question of health. I really like the thought that “we are not just individuals but also microbacterial communities”.

It seems possible that this research into both our gut flora/bacteria and into our autoimmune reactions could potentially make life significantly easier for many people.
 
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Vladd67

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I did read about a study where giving autistic children prebiotic tablets appeared to improve their symptoms, however other doctors claim the improvement could just be the children getting older and maturing, so there is some disagreement as to the actual cause of improvement.
 

Robert Zwilling

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Probiotic pills are kinda like taking something out of context. First, the body needs to be deficient in the particular microbes being used. It's a good idea but it probably requires as many different types of pills as there already are being produced for everything else. If your body uses those microbes and they either got wiped out or at low levels, the pills can bring them back to normal levels. They probably should be mandatory if one is taking antibiotics. There is so much interaction between all the microbes and all the body functions that the same microbe could be having different effects for two different people.

Besides building up basic levels of known good microbes, work also has to be done finding microbes that don't belong there because they are secreting harmful substances. Hampering that goal is that some of them belong in no one, while others might be beneficial to some but not to others. To make the situation even more difficult not all the bacteria are found only in the digestive tract, they are basically found through out the entire body inside and out. People can carry all kinds of bacteria on their skin which doesn't effect them at all but can make other people ill.

Ordinary soil is a dry ocean filled with bacteria, whose populations can reproduce every thirty minutes. Whip the dirt up into the air or run water through it and the land based bacteria gets spread even farther. What grows in the water can be different from the dirt, different from what's growing on vertical objects living, dead, or inert, grows on mountain tops, grows in the clouds. We're literally swimming through oceans of bacteria all our lives and no one knows why most of it is beneficial to our lives, when it could be just the opposite.
 

AnyaKimlin

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I have three autistic children. After an hour talking about Minecraft, I am now discussing copyright law and YouTube instead of writing how to perform a cylinder leakage test. My children are fabulous but they all have issues with food.

In particular my eldest finds that meat makes her sluggish, dairy makes her vomit and caffeine increases her anxiety.

My middle one claims he has no food issues but he has self regulated his sugar intake since he was a tot and I know if he eats a lot of bread he is more likely to meltdown or spend the night crying about our dying about four years ago.

All of my children become like teen girls with PMS after pancakes.

Yes I do think gut health plays a part in making their lives difficult.
 

dannymcg

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Somebody in a lab says
"I've an idea, let's transplant some sh*t from this mouse into that mouse and it'll give us a bit of insight into autism"

And the co-workers agree!
"Yeah, cool, let's go for it"

Not:-
"Are you deranged? Somebody call security!"
 

Jo Zebedee

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blah - flags. So many flags.
Somebody in a lab says
"I've an idea, let's transplant some sh*t from this mouse into that mouse and it'll give us a bit of insight into autism"

And the co-workers agree!
"Yeah, cool, let's go for it"

Not:-
"Are you deranged? Somebody call security!"
Except that it’s been known for a time there might be an impact on ASD based on gut bacteria... this isn’t an ‘out there’ experiment
 

dannymcg

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Except that it’s been known for a time there might be an impact on ASD based on gut bacteria... this isn’t an ‘out there’ experiment
Oh well, then there was still somebody, at some point, (long after the 'brain docs' at the cool and sexy end had done their stuff) who said "I'm gonna look at sh*t to move this on"
 
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