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Gut Bacteria Vaccine Could Help Control Autism Symptoms

A vaccine created to treat a gut bacteria common in children with autism could also help control some symptoms of the neural development disorder, according to new research published in this month’s edition of the journal Vaccine.

Researchers Brittany Pequegnat and Mario Monteiro of the University of Guelph in Ontario reportedly developed a carbohydrate-based vaccine against the bacteria Clostridium bolteae, which has been linked to gastrointestinal disorders and is often present in greater numbers in autistic children than in healthy kids.

“Little is known about the factors that predispose autistic children to C. bolteae,” Monteiro said, adding that most of the infections can be managed by antibiotics but that a vaccine would improve current treatment quality. “This is the first vaccine designed to control constipation and diarrhea caused by C. bolteae and perhaps control autism-related symptoms associated with this microbe.”

According to the researchers, more than 90 percent of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) suffer from chronic severe gastrointestinal symptoms, and three-fourths of those have diarrhea. Cases of autism have increased more than fivefold over the past two decades, and while the exact reason is unclear, some researchers believe the answer could lie in gut bacteria such as C. bolteae.

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