As we are entering another April, you hardly hear much about Autism Awareness(guess everyone that counts IS aware of this terrifying pandemic), and you certainly do not hear about any better answers (medical or otherwise) for parents now, than when Autism Speaks (Feb. 2005) and so many parent groups sprang up to “help “
Why has there been no real help, no real changes in 24++ years?
Sadly, it’s getting easier and easier to explain why. Over all theses year, neither those in charge of our present medical system (impossible to be innocently misdirected at this time) or these groups have wanted to admit the truth; A terrible mistake was made (and still being perpetuated), these children must have a medical disease, because most have organic (medical – motor) issues, and for the reason below do not fit or qualify for what IS being called “autism.”
IF multiple times over in the 40s, 50s, 60s, Dr. Kanner and other worldwide prominent psychiatrists argued, stood up, and fought for the idea this new idea of “autism” was unique from other childhood schizophrenias; AND unless a child met the strict criteria set up, a child did not have “autism”!!!
As discussed, many times, those strict criteria included:
a child was never affectionate(never in our world to be affectionate)
a child was never normal (part of never being in our world, connected, etc.) and critically
if there was an organic finding (i.e. motor issues) one could not be given a psychiatric, DSM label.
IF the system won’t change, the organized groups won’t change, how many of you as parents are ready to finally change, ready to come together in the one fight NEVER done over ALL these years. Your children are ill, they do not have a DSM, psychiatric, developmental label called autism and you want immediate medical help for your children, a medical crisis that has been completely ignored for well over 24++ years.
If enough of you can come together, create a new organization focused on the right solution (starts with this is NOT autism), this April could be the start of real hope for all of you and your families. IF not, sadly safe to say, nothing is going to change . . . hope that statement is finally unacceptable to many more of you. You and your children deserve a lot more, and a real change for a better future . . . not same old, same old.
Michael Goldberg, MD
Dr. Goldberg makes very important and valid points. Without the correct definition, patients can not get appropriate treatment.
This is true in the Lyme/MSIDS world as well. Mainstream medicine is calling this complex illness “Lyme Disease,” when it typically is so much more than that.
Mattman isolated living Borrelia spirochetes in mosquitoes, fleas, mites, semen, urine, blood, plasma and Cerebral Spinal Fluid. She discovered that this bacteria is dangerous because it can survive and spread without cell wall (L shape). Because L-forms do not possess cell wall, they are resistant to antibiotics that act upon the cell wall.
Others have found various ways Bb is transmitted as well:
Burgess could infect cats with Bb orally, ocularly, and via IV
(Natural News) When it comes to the Religion of Vaccination, there’s one area of research that’s completely off-limits, and it encompasses looking into vaccine safety and effectiveness independently, and with an open mind. The reason for this, of course, is that every time a scientist dares to do this, he or she typically discovers that vaccines aren’t nearly as safe or effective as the medical police state claims – which instantly makes said scientist a target of the medical establishment, which has no qualms about doing almost anything in order to silence the truth.
One recent and prominent example of this type of medical tyranny involves Professor Chris Exley of Keele University in the United Kingdom, whose focused research into aluminum toxicity led him to conclude that childhood vaccines, many of which contain neurotoxic aluminum, can, in fact, cause autism – a discovery that, if you’ve been following independent vaccine science for any considerable period of time, is inherently “controversial” and a recipe for trouble.
Like Dr. Andrew Wakefield before him, Prof. Exley merely reported his findings in the interest of public health, as any good scientist would do. And in the process, he’s made himself enemy number one of the Vaccine Mafia, which is now trying to destroy his career and life by barring him from raising any further funding for his research endeavors.
In essence, Prof. Exley has officially blown the lid off the highly-destructive nature of aluminum in vaccines, indicating that this common chemical adjuvant has the potential to cause “severe and disabling” autism in children who are injected with it. And for violating the medical establishment’s never-to-be-challenged doctrine of “all vaccines are safe and effective,” Prof. Exley is now having to endure the ire of the priests and priestesses of the Cult of Vaccination, which are now out for blood.
Support Prof. Exley’s GoFundMe to help bring the truth about vaccines and autism to as many people as possible
Prof. Exley was one of the underwriters for an eye-opening 2017 study published in EBioMedicine, a journal associated with The Lancet, which found that underarm cosmetic products – mainly antiperspirant deodorants that contain aluminum – increase users’ risk of developing breast cancer.
He’s also studied other areas of aluminum toxicity similarly unrelated to vaccines – though vaccines eventually became a natural next-step for his particular area of focus. And rather than censor the progressive course of his research endeavors, Prof. Exley stuck true to science – and for doing this, he’s now paying a big price.
The good news, though, is that many people are on Prof. Exley’s side, and are working hard to get him funding from other sources. Some of his most ardently faithful followers have actually set up a GoFundMe page to help raise financial support for his continued research endeavors.
In light of the medical establishment’s continued betrayal of not only his work but also science at large, it’s up to everyday folks who care about truth to step up to the plate to make sure that parents know the truth – and more importantly, to ensure that as many children as possible are protected against toxic injections that could cause them lifelong harm.
“We’ve seen this drama unfold many times,” comments Age of Autism about this latest saga.
“A well respected doctor or researcher begins to ask questions about vaccine safety as a result of the science he or she conducts, and his career is adversely affected … [Prof. Exley’s] funding is dwindling and he needs our help.”
Dr. James Lyons-Weiler’s published a study, Reconsideration of the immunotherapeutic pediatric safe dose levels of aluminum, that says the recognized safe aluminum levels in vaccines are based on immune efficacy and ignore body weight. James says that several critical mistakes have been made in the consideration of pediatric dosing of aluminum and that safety inferences of vaccine doses of aluminum have relied solely on dietary (ingested, not injected) exposure studies of adult mice and rats.
On Day 1 of life, infants receive 17 times more aluminum than would be allowed if doses were adjusted per body weight.
The FDA states that 850 mcg of aluminum is safe for an adult. With his research, James found that a series of errors led to the guidelines that state 850 mcg of aluminum is safe for an adult.
The first serious problem (Problem #1) is that a provisionally tolerable weekly limit assumed to be safe was, by a series of errors and bad assumptions, transformed into a daily limit that appeared to be backed by studies. The studies used were not up to date, and the FDA’s determination used spurious estimates to transform safety information from dietary studies of adult mice into injected safe limits in human infants. These errors were made, in part, in the pediatric limit consideration by the FDA, who used outdated information not consistent with other organizations like World Health Organization.
To add to the confusion, the 1 mg/kg/week was also then changed to 2 mg/kg/week. The ATDSR used information from one study, assumed 1 mg/kg/week, adjusted using arbitrary functions that are without a doubt as good as a bad guess.
We came across this study last week on Medium. It has since been deleted, along with Jame’s account. We checked on web.archive.org to see if the page had been preserved; it had not. We searched Google, but it’s gone from search results, but we did find the article republished by James on LinkedIn.
Autism Symptoms Reduced Nearly 50% Two Years After Fecal Transplant
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in every 59 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with autism, up from one in every 150 in 2000. They report that
“about half a million people on the autism spectrum will become adults over the next decade, a swelling tide for which the country is unprepared.”
The apparent rise in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and its stubborn resistance to treatment has spurred a legion of researchers to enter the field and explore the disability in innovative ways.
Currently, effective treatments for ASD include behavioral therapy, speech and social therapy, psychiatric medications, and dietary and nutritional approaches. However, no medical treatments have been approved to treat core symptoms of ASD such as social communication difficulties and repetitive behaviors.
One promising avenue of autism research involves the gut microbiome, which is the collection of microbes that lives in our intestines and helps us in many ways including digestion of our food, training our immune system and preventing overgrowth of harmful bacteria. Recent research suggests our gut microbiomes also affect brain communication and neurological health. Worldwide, interest is growing in the idea that changes in normal gut microbiota may be responsible for triggering a vast range of diseases.
In a new study, “Long-term benefit of Microbiota Transfer Therapy in Autism Symptoms and Gut Microbiota,” published in Scientific Reports, Arizona State University researchers Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown, Ph.D., James Adams, Ph.D, and lead author Dae-Wook Kang, Ph.D, demonstrate long-term beneficial effects for children diagnosed with ASD through a revolutionary technique known as Microbiota Transfer Therapy (MTT), a special type of fecal transplant originally pioneered by Dr. Thomas Borody, an Australian gastroenterologist.
Remarkably, improvements in gut health and autism symptoms appear to persist long after treatment.
At two years post-treatment, most of the initial improvements in gut symptoms remained. In addition, parents reported a slow steady reduction of ASD symptoms during treatment and over the next two years. A professional evaluator found a 45% reduction in core ASD symptoms (language, social interaction and behavior) at two years post-treatment compared to before treatment began.
“We are finding a very strong connection between the microbes that live in our intestines and signals that travel to the brain,” said Krajmalnik-Brown, a professor at the Biodesign Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology at the Biodesign Institute and ASU’s School for Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment. “Two years later, the children are doing even better, which is amazing.”
“Many kids with autism have gastrointestinal problems, and some studies, including ours, have found that those children also have worse autism-related symptoms,” said Krajmalnik-Brown. “In many cases, when you are able to treat those gastrointestinal problems, their behavior improves.”
Roughly 30-50% of all people with autism have chronic gastrointestinal (GI) problems, primarily constipation and/or diarrhea that can last for many years. That chronic discomfort and pain can cause irritability, decreased attention and learning, and negatively impact behavior.
An earlier study with only vancomycin (an antibiotic) had found major temporary improvements in GI and autism symptoms, but the benefits were lost a few weeks after treatment stopped despite use of over-the-counter probiotics.
So, the question at hand was what’s going on in the gut, and how does it affect both physical and behavioral symptoms of autism, and how can we develop a long-lasting treatment?
Krajmalnik-Brown, Kang and Adams have shown that by transferring healthy microbiota to individuals lacking certain gut bacteria, it is possible to “donate” a more diverse set of bacteria into the patient and improve gut health.
In Australia, Fecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT) was initially developed by Borody. At his Centre for Digestive Diseases in Sydney, Borody has overseen more than 18,000 FMTs for various disorders since 1987. He pioneered in Australia the use of FMT for colitis and Clostridium difficile infection, and was the first to use oral FMT to treat children with ASD. Only one dose of FMT is usually enough to cure C. Difficile infections, but his patients with autism were far harder to treat. He discovered that three months of daily FMT was required to treat his autism patients, but eventually resulted in significant improvements in both GI and autism symptoms.
Based on his experience with his patients, Borody led the design of the clinical treatment used at ASU for this study. The MTT approach involves 10 weeks of treatment, including pre-treatment with vancomycin, a bowel cleanse, a stomach acid suppressant, and fecal microbiota transfer daily for seven to eight weeks.
The initial open-label study, led by Krajmalnik-Brown and Adams, and published in the journal Microbiome in 2017, concluded that “this exploratory, extended-duration treatment protocol thus appears to be a promising approach to alter the gut microbiome and improve GI and behavioral symptoms of ASD. Improvements in GI symptoms, ASD symptoms, and the microbiome all persisted for at least eight weeks after treatment ended, suggesting a long-term impact.” The present study now shows the benefits are extended beyond eight weeks to at least two years post-treatment.
The ASU team compared differences in the microbiome of children with autism compared to typically developing children. At the start of the study, children with autism were found to have lower diversity in their respective gut microbes and were depleted of certain strains of helpful bacteria, such as Bifidobacteria and Prevotella.
“Kids with autism are lacking important beneficial bacteria, and have fewer options in the bacterial menu of important functions that bacteria provide to the gut than typically developing kids,” Krajmalnik-Brown said.
FMT treatment substantially increased microbial diversity and the presence of helpful bacteria in the gut, such as Bifidobacteria and Prevotella. After two years, diversity was even higher and the presence of beneficial microbes remained.
“We originally hypothesized that our therapy would be efficient to transform the dysbiotic gut microbiome toward a healthy one. In our original paper in 2017, we reported an increase in gut diversity together with beneficial bacteria after MTT, and after two years, we observed diversity was even higher and the presence of beneficial microbes remained,” Kang said.
He added that this may be one of the reasons for success in improving the gut health, but further mechanistic studies are warranted to define specific roles of gut microbes in the context of autism.
The work done at ASU is not only about treating patients but also about learning from the treatment in order to develop better formulations and optimize dosing.
“Understanding which microbes and chemicals produced by the microbes are driving these behavioral changes is at the heart of our work,” Krajmalnik-Brown said. The team’s new publication reports that the study demonstrated that two years after treatment stopped the participants still had an average of a 58% reduction in GI symptoms compared to baseline. In addition, the parents of most participants reported “a slow but steady improvement in core ASD symptoms.”
“Every family completed the study, and every family returned two years later for a follow-up evaluation,” said Adams, citing the families’ dedication to the research. “The treatment was generally well-tolerated with minimal adverse effects.”
“This is a world-first discovery that when we treated the gut bacteria in these children during our clinical trial two years ago to reset their microbiome with FMT, positive results are still continuing to be improving two years from the original treatments. I would call it the highest improvement in a cohort that anyone has achieved for autism symptoms,” said Borody.
Professional evaluation revealed a 45% decrease in ASD symptoms compared to baseline. Researchers note that although there may be some placebo effect, much of that effect appears to be real. At the start of the study, 83% of participants were rated as “severe” autism. At the end of the study, only 17% were “severe,” 39% were “mild/moderate,” and 44% were below the cut-off for mild ASD.
Greg Caporaso, at Northern Arizona University, a leading expert in microbiome data science and a co-author on these studies, helped to analyze the microbiome data to better understand bacterial changes as a result of MTT.
“Drs. Krajmalnik-Brown, Kang and I are excited about the results, but we want to caution the public that we need larger clinical trials for this to become an FDA-approved treatment,” said Adams. Professional expertise is required for safe and effective treatment.
MTT improves GI distress by introducing key strains of beneficial bacteria and helping to raise levels of biodiversity within the gut, boosting health overall.
Adams has both professional and personal reasons for doggedly pursuing ways to help children with autism because he knows the situation first-hand. His daughter was diagnosed with autism just before her third birthday. Adams, a President’s Professor at ASU’s School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy, and the chair of Materials Sciences, is also president of the Autism Society of Greater Phoenix, the largest parent support group in Arizona.
“Dr. James Adams is the reason why I started working on autism,” Krajmalnik-Brown said. “I had the methods to do all of the measurements and assessments in the microbiome part of the work, and he had the autism knowledge.”
Adams recruited patients, supervised clinical work and ASD assessments, and guided the patients through the trials, and Krajmalnik-Brown led the microbiome evaluations and helped plan the study.
All of the participants in the study exhibited chronic GI symptoms from infancy, including chronic constipation and/or chronic diarrhea. The treatment benefits extended beyond their physical symptoms, even causing some parents to note how much their children’s behavior had improved over time.
“It is very unusual to see steady gradual improvement after the conclusion of any treatment,” said Adams. “We only conducted the long-term follow-up study after several families told us that their child was continuing to improve significantly.”
Krajmalnik-Brown stated that the data suggests that the MTT intervention transformed the gut environment into a healthier status, leading to long-term benefit on both GI and ASD symptoms.
Adams said many of the participants in the trial shared common traits, including
birth by C-section
low fiber intake by the mother and child
All of these lead to limited biodiversity in their gut bacteria. Due to the open label nature of the study and the small sample size used, more research is needed in order to verify the usefulness of MTT as a therapeutic.
The initial study involved a “first-generation” estimate as to optimal dose and duration of treatment, and it was enough for 90% of the children to have substantial benefit. The team is now working on optimizing the dosing and duration to try to improve benefits even more, and to determine if booster doses may be needed in some cases.
And a special surprise panel that illuminates the bigger picture that affects your family’s world
The AutismOne 2019 Conference will be held May 22-26, 2019, at the Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel in Rosemont, IL.
“AutismOne always has the cutting-edge information years ahead of any other autism conference. You hear it first at AutismOne.” ~Janet Cakir, PhD
WEDNESDAY, MAY 22, LECTURES:
THURSDAY, MAY 23, LECTURES, MOVIES, PANELS:
FRIDAY, MAY 24, LECTURES AND PANELS:
SATURDAY, MAY 25, LECTURES AND PANELS:
SUNDAY, MAY 26, LECTURES:
See list of speakers: https://autismoneconference.com/conference_speakers.html Erica Linn, MSN & Dr. Greg Brown MD from Serenity Health in Wisconsin will be speakers at the conference. Dr. Brown treats children and adults with Lyme/MSIDS as well as PANS/PANDAS. He’s stated that up to 80% of his autistic and PANS/PANDAS patients are infected with Lyme/MSIDS.
https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/10/09/today-is-panspandas-awareness-day/Trifiletti officially diagnosed Carson with PANS, not PANDAS, due to the active co-infections found in his blood work: mycoplasma, the bacteria that causes pneumonia; coxsackie — the virus causing Hand, Foot and Mouth disease; streptococcus, the bacteria causing strep throat; bartonella and babesia — a bacteria and parasite related to Lyme disease; and yeast, Melissa Spears said.
Instead of attacking these infections, Carson’s antibodies were instead going after his brain.
Dr. Amen is a NY Times best-selling author, double board-certified psychiatrist and brain-imaging pioneer. He is watched by millions of viewers on his breakthrough public television programs about brain health. His research was listed as one of the top 100 stories in science in 2015 by Discover Magazine.
TANA AMEN, BSN, RN
Tana is VP of Amen Clinics, a highly-respected health and fitness expert, nurse and author of six books, including the NY Times bestseller The Omni Diet. Tana’s fresh approach and energetic presence have made her a nationally renowned speaker. As an in-demand media guest, she has appeared on TV shows including, The Doctors, The Today Show and Good Day New York.
The experience of parenting a child with a disability such as autism or cerebral palsy is vastly different than the usual parenting experience. There’s often grief, guilt, and shame, and even feelings of underperforming or letting your child down. In the second episode of a series on caregiving, Dr. Daniel Amen and Tana Amen give you tips to change your way of thinking to enable you to help guide and care for your child in a more productive way.
In 2014 John Cryan, a professor at University College Cork in Ireland, attended a meeting in California about Alzheimer’s disease. He wasn’t an expert on dementia. Instead, he studied the microbiome, the trillions of microbes inside the healthy human body.
Dr. Cryan and other scientists were beginning to find hints that these microbes could influence the brain and behavior. Perhaps, he told the scientific gathering, the microbiome has a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
The idea was not well received.
“I’ve never given a talk to so many people who didn’t believe what I was saying,” Dr. Cryan recalled.
A lot has changed since then: Research continues to turn up remarkable links between the microbiome and the brain. Scientists are finding evidence that microbiome may play a role not just in Alzheimer’s disease, but Parkinson’s disease, depression, schizophrenia, autism and other conditions.
For some neuroscientists, new studies have changed the way they think about the brain.
One of the skeptics at that Alzheimer’s meeting was Sangram Sisodia, a neurobiologist at the University of Chicago. He wasn’t swayed by Dr. Cryan’s talk, but later he decided to put the idea to a simple test.
“It was just on a lark,” said Dr. Sisodia. “We had no idea how it would turn out.”
He and his colleagues gave antibiotics to mice prone to develop a version of Alzheimer’s disease, in order to kill off much of the gut bacteria in the mice. Later, when the scientists inspected the animals’ brains, they found far fewer of the protein clumps linked to dementia.
“I never imagined it would be such a striking result,” Dr. Sisodia said. “For someone with a background in molecular biology and neuroscience, this is like going into outer space.”
Following a string of similar experiments, he now suspects that just a few species in the gut — perhaps even one — influence the course of Alzheimer’s disease, perhaps by releasing chemical that alters how immune cells work in the brain.
He hasn’t found those microbes, let alone that chemical. But “there’s something’s in there,” he said. “And we have to figure out what it is.”
‘It was considered crazy’
Scientists have long known that microbes live inside us. In 1683, the Dutch scientist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek put plaque from his teeth under a microscope and discovered tiny creatures swimming about.
But the microbiome has stubbornly resisted scientific discovery. For generations, microbiologists only studied the species that they could grow in the lab. Most of our interior occupants can’t survive in petri dishes.
In the early 2000s, however, the science of the microbiome took a sudden leap forward when researchers figured out how to sequence DNA from these microbes. Researchers initially used this new technology to examine how the microbiome influences parts of our bodies rife with bacteria, such as the gut and the skin.
Few of them gave much thought to the brain — there didn’t seem to be much point. The brain is shielded from microbial invasion by the so-called blood-brain barrier. Normally, only small molecules pass through.
“As recently as 2011, it was considered crazy to look for associations between the microbiome and behavior,” said Rob Knight, a microbiologist at the University of California, San Diego.
He and his colleagues discovered some of the earliest hints of these links. Investigators took stool from mice with a genetic mutation that caused them to eat a lot and put on weight. They transferred the stool to mice that had been raised germ-free — that is, entirely without gut microbiomes — since birth.
Altering appetite isn’t the only thing that the microbiome can do to the brain, it turns out. Dr. Cryan and his colleagues, for example, have found that mice without microbiomes become loners, preferring to stay away from fellow rodents.
The scientists eventually discovered changes in the brains of these antisocial mice. One region, called the amygdala, is important for processing social emotions. In germ-free mice, the neurons in the amygdala make unusual sets of proteins, changing the connections they make with other cells.
But none of these associations proves cause and effect. Finding an unusual microbiome in people with Alzheimer’s doesn’t mean that the bacteria drive the disease. It could be the reverse: People with Alzheimer’s disease often change their eating habits, for example, and that switch might favor different species of gut microbes.
Fecal transplants can help pin down these links. In his research on Alzheimer’s, Dr. Sisodia and his colleagues transferred stool from ordinary mice into the mice they had treated with antibiotics. Once their microbiomes were restored, the antibiotic-treated mice started developing protein clumps again.
“We’re extremely confident that it’s the bacteria that’s driving this,” he said.
Other researchers have taken these experiments a step further by using human fecal transplants.
If you hold a mouse by its tail, it normally wriggles in an effort to escape. If you give it a fecal transplant from humans with major depression, you get a completely different result: The mice give up sooner, simply hanging motionless.
As intriguing as this sort of research can be, it has a major limitation. Because researchers are transferring hundreds of bacterial species at once, the experiments can’t reveal which in particular are responsible for changing the brain.
Now researchers are pinpointing individual strains that seem to have an effect.
To study autism, Dr. Mauro Costa-Mattioli and his colleagues at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston investigated different kinds of mice, each of which display some symptoms of autism. A mutation in a gene called SHANK3 can cause mice to groom themselves repetitively and avoid contact with other mice, for example.
In another mouse strain, Dr. Costa-Mattioli found that feeding mothers a high-fat diet makes it more likely their pups will behave this way.
When the researchers investigated the microbiomes of these mice, they found the animals lacked a common species called Lactobacillus reuteri. When they added a strain of that bacteria to the diet, the animals became social again.
Dr. Costa-Mattioli found evidence that L. reuteri releases compounds that send a signal to nerve endings in the intestines. The vagus nerve sends these signals from the gut to the brain, where they alter production of a hormone called oxytocin that promotes social bonds.
Other microbial species also send signals along the vagus nerve, it turns out. Still others communicate with the brain via the bloodstream.
Does that mean a low-diversity microbiome makes babies more fearful of others? It’s not possible to say yet — but Dr. Knickmeyer hopes to find out by running more studies on babies.
Credit Sean McSorley
Protection against seizures
As researchers better understand how the microbiome influences the brain, they hope doctors will be able to use it to treat psychiatric and neurological conditions.
It’s possible they’ve been doing it for a long time — without knowing.
In the early 1900s, neurologists found that putting people with epilepsy on a diet low in carbohydrates and high in protein and fat sometimes reduced their seizures.
Epileptic mice experience the same protection from a so-called ketogenic diet. But no one could say why. Elaine Hsiao, a microbiologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, suspected that the microbiome was the reason.
To test the microbiome’s importance, Dr. Hsiao and her colleagues raised mice free of microbes. When they put the germ-free epileptic mice on a ketogenic diet, they found that the animals got no protection from seizures.
But if they gave the germ-free animals stool from mice on a ketogenic diet, seizures were reduced.
Dr. Hsiao found that two types of gut bacteria in particular thrive in mice on a ketogenic diet. They may provide their hosts with building blocks for neurotransmitters that put a brake on electrical activity in the brain.
It’s conceivable that people with epilepsy wouldn’t need to go on a ketogenic diet to get its benefits — one day, they may just take a pill containing the bacteria that do well on the diet.
Sarkis Mazmanian, a microbiologist at Caltech, and his colleagues have identified a single strain of bacteria that triggers symptoms of Parkinson’s disease in mice. He has started a company that is testing a compound that may block signals that the microbe sends to the vagus nerve.
Dr. Mazmanian and other researchers now must manage a tricky balancing act. On one hand, their experiments have proven remarkably encouraging; on the other, scientists don’t want to encourage the notion that microbiome-based cures for diseases like Parkinson’s are around the corner.
That’s not easy when people can buy probiotics without a prescription, and when some companies are willing to use preliminary research to peddle microbes to treat conditions like depression.
“The science can get mixed up with what the pseudoscientists are doing,” said Dr. Hsiao.
Dr. Costa-Mattioli hopes that L. reuteri some day will help some people with autism, but he warns parents against treating their children with store-bought probiotics. Some strains of L. reuteri alter the behavior of mice, he’s found, and others don’t.
Dr. Costa-Mattioli and his colleagues are still searching for the most effective strain and figuring out the right dose to try on people.
“You want to go into a clinical trial with the best weapon, and I’m not sure we have it,” he said.
Katarzyna B. Hooks, a computational biologist at the University of Bordeaux in France, warned that studies like Dr. Costa-Mattioli’s are still unusual. Most of these findings come from research with fecal transplants or germ-free mice — experiments in which it’s especially hard to pinpoint the causes of changes in behavior.
“We have the edges of the puzzle, and we’re now trying to figure out what’s in the picture itself,” she said.