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Israelis part of study showing link between gut microbes, autism

A collaborative study conducted by a global team of microbiome experts has uncovered compelling evidence linking the gut microbiome to autism spectrum disorder

By Madison Karlin, NoCamels

July 11, 2023

Israeli researchers were part of a global study that discovered a link between anomalies in gut microbes and autism that could provide new treatment options for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Researchers from the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine at Bar-Ilan University partnered with the Israel Registry and Biobank of Autism (IRBA) in the study of gut microbiomes (the trillions of microbes that colonize your gut) in 48 neurotypical and 48 autistic children from around the world.

The study, which was published by the Nature Neuroscience journal, showed more than 2,000 differences in the genes between both groups, suggesting that microbiome-based therapeutic interventions could help to treat individuals with autism.

The researchers say that this personalized approach holds the potential to significantly improve outcomes and quality of life for those on the autism spectrum, and plan to expand their research with IRBA.

Gut microbiomes regulate your gut-brain axis (GBA), which connects the emotional and cognitive centres of the brain with intestinal functions, and disruptions of the gut microbiome are thought to contribute to ASD or other neuro-developmental disorders. ASD affects about 75 million people worldwide, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Our collaborative study presents a significant breakthrough, revealing the profound influence of the gut-brain axis on the biology of autism,” said Prof. Evan Elliott of Bar-Ilan University, a key researcher in the study.

“The correlation between microbiome alterations and immune system markers provides valuable insights into how the gut microbiome may influence the health of individuals diagnosed with autism,” he said.

Photo courtesy of Azrieli Faculty of Medicine of Bar-Ilan University - Professor Evan Elliott (centre) with members of his lab at Azrieli Faculty of Medicine, of Bar-Ilan University, Israel.


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