While the idea that autism and gut bacteria are linked was dismissed for many years, with more than 90 percent of children on the autism spectrum suffering from severe and chronic gastrointestinal issues, scientists set out to create a vaccine to fight against invasion from the suspected unhealthy gut bacteria. Researchers at the University of Guelph believe that a gut bacteria that has been commonly found in the GI tracts of children with autism is causing their gastrointestinal issues.
Researchers Brittany Pequegnat and Mario Monteiro have developed what Science Daily calls the first-ever vaccine to fight against these symptoms of autism. The research has been published in the medical journal Vaccine.
The new vaccine that the researchers hope will eliminate the gut symptoms in people with autism is a carbohydrate-based vaccine to be used against the bacteria Clostridium bolteae. This gut bacteria is reportedly known to play a role in some gut disorders, and is one of the gut bugs found commonly in autistic children, and not as commonly in non-autistic children.
“Little is known about the factors that predispose autistic children to C. bolteae,” Monteiro explained. Some parents have turned to probiotics, gut enzymes, antibiotics and even fecal transplants to improve their children’s gut health, but Monteiro believes a vaccine would be an effective treatment against gut disorders in people with autism.”This is the first vaccine designed to control constipation and diarrhea caused by C. bolteae and perhaps control autism-related symptoms associated with this microbe.”
A Science Daily article explained that the new vaccine against this reportedly nasty gut bacteria targets the complex polysaccharides, or carbohydrates, on the surface of this specific gut bacteria. This vaccine was able to raise antibodies against this gut microbe in rabbits, but it has yet to be tested on humans. It could take another 10 years before the vaccine would be available to the public, according to Monteiro, who indicated other bacteria is also disturbing the gut of people with autism.
“But this is a significant first step in the design of a multivalent vaccine against several autism-related gut bacteria.”
Not everyone is excited about the possibility of a new vaccine for the gut symptoms of autism. Some parents on social media pointed out that just last year researchers claimed that healthy gut microbes are a dying breed. H. pylori was once considered a very unfriendly bacteria and was linked to ulcers. Doctors tried to eradicate it and almost did. Only six percent of Americans born after 1995 have this bacteria in their guts. Upon further research, scientists later realized that the bacteria might be a friendly bacteria too. Its eradication efforts have since been linked to a rise in acid reflux, asthma, allergies, and celiac disease.
Would you try a vaccine aimed at fighting the bacteria implicated in the gut disturbances in autism, or would you try another method for fighting gastrointestinal disturbances?
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