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SPECIALITY



        Gut microbiota differences seen


        in people with autism may be


        due to dietary preferences


















































              esearch suggested that         in autism, but not a lot of hard    depression, and schizophrenia.
              autism spectrum disorder       evidence,” says senior author Jacob   The possibility of targeting the
       R(ASD) may be at least partly         Gratten, of Mater Research in       microbiota is a growing area of
        caused by differences in the         partnership with The University of   research for new treatments.
        composition of the gut microbiota,   Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.
        based on the observation that        “Our study, which is the largest to   In the Cell study, the investigators
        certain types of microbes are more   date, was designed to overcome      analyzed stool samples from a
        common in people with autism.        some of the limitations of prior work.”  total of 247 children between the
        But a paper appearing November                                           ages of 2 and 17. The samples
        11 in the journal Cell suggests      Over the past decade, as next-      were collected from 99 children
        that the link may actually work the   generation sequencing of the       diagnosed with ASD, 51 paired
        other way around: the diversity      microbial species in the gut has    undiagnosed siblings, and 97
        in species found in the guts of      made analysis of the microbiome     unrelated, undiagnosed children.
        children with autism may be due to   more automated and less-time        The subjects included in the
        their restricted dietary preferences   consuming, a number of studies    analysis were from the Australian
        associated with autism, rather than   have examined the link between     Autism Biobank and Queensland
        the cause of their symptoms.         particular species of microbes in   Twin Adolescent Brain Project.
                                             the gut and mental health. The
        “There’s a lot of interest surrounding   gut-brain axis has been linked not                        8
        the role of the gut microbiome       only to ASD but also to anxiety,



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