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Bacteria in the gut of autistic children different from non-autistic children

Individuals with severe autism often suffer from another problem as well: gastrointestinal disturbances. The underlying reason for this apparent link is unknown, but a study in mBio this week reveals that the guts of autistic children differ from other children in at least one important way: many children with autism harbor a genus of bacteria in their guts that non-autistic children do not.

Earlier work has revealed that autistic individuals with gastrointestinal symptoms often exhibit inflammation and other abnormalities in their upper and lower intestinal tracts. However, scientists do not know what causes the inflammation or how the condition relates to the developmental disorders that characterize autism. Williams et al. show that the guts of autistic children with gastrointestinal problems are often home to species of Sutterella, a genus with few cultivated representatives. Whether or not these bacteria are a cause or effect of autism remains to be seen.

Click on the "source" link to read more on mBio's blog, mBiosphere...

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