Study Reveals “Definitive Association” Between Gut Microbiome and Autism Spectrum Disorder

July 24, 2023

Authors Do Not Believe an Altered Microbiome Causes Autism, Suggests a Statistical Correlation between the Two Conditions

A groundbreaking study featured in the scientific journal Nature Neuroscience claims to have found a “definitive association” between temporal changes in gut microbiome composition and traits and symptoms exhibited in those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). A team of 43 international experts employed a novel algorithm to re-analyze 25 previously published datasets and other earlier studies containing microbiome and other “omic” information – such as diet, immune system response, markers of inflammation, and gene expression profiles in the human brain. The team believes their analysis confirmed an intricate relationship between the gut microbiome and ASD that points to “a connection between the microbiome and various immune genes,” as well as “connections to microbiome and diet,” many of which are “tied into putative neurological pathways and neurotransmitters, which are key for brain signaling.” In other words, the authors discovered that the gastrointestinal issues that parents of children with autism have been reporting since the 1990s are real. One senior scientist involved in this research explained that the study “Does not demonstrate that the microbiome causes autism. It demonstrates a statistical correlation between altered microbiome and autism. But the direction of causality is still not clear.” In the future, the authors hope their findings pave the way for more therapies and treatments for children suffering from both ASD and gastrointestinal distress. 

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Original Study

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