Latest News » Researchers reveal new connection between autism and gut health

A new study has shown a connection between autism and nutrition in children.

Autism is a complex disorder that, while known for its wide range of behavioral symptoms, also affects various bodily processes. According to recently released figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as one in 50 children in the United States are diagnosed with some form of Autism Spectrum Disorder – a substantial leap from the previous estimate of 1 in 88.

This revelation has made it all the more vital for medical researchers, physicians and families to gain a more comprehensive understanding of this condition and the lifestyle factors that may affect it.

Previously on this blog, we discussed how certain forms of behavioral therapy – particularly those that focus on sensory experience – may benefit children with autism. Another factor under investigation is the relationship between autism and nutrition in general. According to HealthDay News, a recent study from Arizona State University has specifically shed light on how the bacteria found in the gut can affect children with this condition.

"One of the reasons we started addressing this topic is the fact that autistic children have a lot of [gastroinestinal] problems that can last into adulthood [and] when we manage these problems, their behavior improves dramatically,"  lead researcher Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown said.

Upon analyzing fecal samples from 20 children with autism and 20 without the disorder, the scientists determined that those with the condition had notably lower levels of three beneficial forms of gut bacteria. Further research is necessary to determine how this discovery will affect future treatment options, and whether probiotics and other specialized diets that support gut health may be used in autism.