Researchers with Arizona State University have revealed that fecal transplants drastically reduced the autism-related symptoms in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) over a two-year period. The study’s participants experienced improvements to their gut health, as well, highlighting the potential benefits fecal transplants may offer individuals impacted by autism spectrum disorder.
The results were revealed in a newly published study detailing the long-term effects of Microbiota Transfer Therapy (MTT, a form of fecal transplant) on autism spectrum disorder symptoms. Parents reported ‘a slow steady reduction’ in these symptoms in the two years following therapy, according to an announcement by the university.
At the two-year mark post-treatment, an expert evaluator determined there was a 45-percent drop in ‘core’ autism spectrum disorder symptoms, which covers the behavioral, language, and social interaction categories. This determination was made by comparing the symptoms post-treatment with symptoms from before the treatment took place.
Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown, PhD, one of the researchers behind the study, explained:
We are finding a very strong connection between the microbes that live in our intestines and signals that travel to the brain … Many kids with autism have gastrointestinal problems, and some studies, including ours, have found that those children also have worse autism-related symptoms. In many cases, when you are able to treat those gastrointestinal problems, their behavior improves.
Gastrointestinal problems impact between 30- and 50-percent of people with autism. Unlike past research that found only short-term improvements in ASD symptoms and gut health via the use of an antibiotic, this latest study noted benefits that increased over — and persisted for — two years following treatment. Fecal transplants have previously been associated with lowered body weight in overweight individuals.