Science

Autism Treatment: Fecal Transplant Can Improve Autism Symptoms

By Anne Dominguez , Jan 25, 2017 04:12 AM EST
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A study revealed an autism treatment to beneficial children with autism. Researchers found out that fecal transplant can improve symptoms of autism such as gastrointestinal problems. Fecal transplant is a method in which healthy microbes are introduced to rebalance the gut. It is commonly used in patients with gastrointestinal diseases.

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder which causes problems in social interaction and communication. Statistics revealed that the number of people diagnosed with autism has been drastically increasing since the 1980s. In 2010, it was reported that 1-2 per 1,000 people are affected by autism worldwide.

Behavioral symptoms of autism are linked to gastrointestinal problems. In a study published in Microbiome, 18 children with autism, aged 7 to 16 years old, have undergone fecal treatment. Results revealed that the children show positive changes which lasted to up to eight weeks after the treatment.

Researchers also highlighted that the said autism treatment can also improve behavioral symptoms of the disease. "Following treatment, we found a positive change in GI symptoms and neurological symptoms overall," Ann Gregory, lead author of the study and microbiology graduate student said in a press release from The Ohio State University.

Information about the children were collected from parent through standardized questionnaires. The parents reported that their children had lesser gut problems such as diarrhea and stomach pain. They also said there were overall improvements in 17 autism-related symptoms in the children which was sustained for up to two months after the final treatment.

The doctors, on the other hand, made a diagnostic evaluation of the symptoms based on the standard Childhood Autism Rating Scale. Compared to the ratings during the start of the study, the ratings decreased by 22 percent at the end of the autism treatment. It also decreased by 24 percent eight weeks after the treatment. The researchers cautioned that their study is limited as it was done on a small number of patients. "We have to be mindful of the placebo effect and we have to take it with a grain of salt, but it does give us hope," co-author, Matthew Sullivan said according to Science Daily.

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