Monday, May 11, 2015

Researchers organize to decipher possible role of gut bacteria in autism

Autism : for a condition that continues to confound researchers and physicians alike, Dr. Richard E. Frye, Director of Arkansas Children's Hospital (ACH) autism research program, believes that research into the role of the microbiome could hold a key to new treatments and understanding of autism. Last summer, Dr. Frye led a group of international, pioneering physicians and scientists, as well as parents, at the 1st International Symposium on the Microbiome in Health and Disease with a Special Focus on Autism. At this historic conference autism researchers called for a new frontier in science and autism research: the connection between the enteric (gut) microbiome and autism. "Mounting evidence shows us that there is a link between the gut and brain; that the gut may have previously under-recognized influences on cognition and possibly even behavior," said Dr. Frye, a leading autism researcher who serves as Director of both ACH's Integrated Autism Research Program and Autism Multispecialty Clinic. "Several lines of research also point to the possibility that changes in the gut either cause or are highly associated with driving core ASD (autism spectrum disorder) symptoms." The microbiome-autism connection is one of several promising avenues being examined as part of their integrated research program at Arkansas Children's Hospital Research Institute. The gathering included a first-of-its-kind conference to discuss topics related to autism and the microbiome, as well as a separate interdisciplinary working group session that examined how to best design a clinical trial to further elucidate the potential role of the microbiome in autism. The results of the meeting have been published as a collection of articles in the international, peer-reviewed journal "Microbial Ecology in Heath and Disease". Dr. Frye is co-author of multiple articles in the special issue, including one that came directly out of the working group session being published today titled: "Approaches to Studying and Manipulating the Enteric Microbiome to Improve Autism Symptoms.".... see more

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Father inspired after child's autism improved by course of antibiotic




A parent has been prompted to investigate the connections between gut bacteria and autism following surprising improvements in his son's autism while taking an antibiotic for strep throat.

Amoxicillin capsules.
Amoxicillin is a form of penicillin and is frequently used to treat bacterial infections such as bronchitis, pneumonia and tonsillitis.
John Rodakis' son was prescribed a 10-day course ofamoxicillin, one of the most frequently used  antibiotics in the US, and within just 4 days of commencing the treatment, changes were observed in his autism symptoms.
"[He] began making eye contact, which he had previously avoided; his speech, which was severely delayed, began to improve markedly; he became less 'rigid' in his insistence for sameness and routine; and he also displayed an uncharacteristic level of energy, which he had historically lacked," explains Rodakis.
In an article published in Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease, Rodakis describes this unexpected turn of events and the journey of discovery he has since embarked upon, as he attempts to understand what caused his son's symptoms to change.
It became apparent to him early in his investigation that many other parents had experienced similar changes following courses of antibiotics, with some even routinely giving their autistic children antibiotics in order to improve their symptoms.
As well as these positive experiences, Rodakis also notes that some parents found their children's symptoms worsened under the influence of the medicine. "In my view, these stories are not contradictory but rather reinforce the notion that an antibiotic can create an effect in autism," writes Rodakis..... read more