Probiotics could contribute to improving the quality of life for people suffering from autism. A study published in the journal Cell offers encouraging results on the potential efficacy of a new kind of treatment.
Researchers from the California Institute of Technology have reproduced in guinea pigs some of the typical negative characteristics of autism, like the alteration of bacterial flora and intestinal physiology associated with antisocial or anxious behaviour. After administering an experimental probiotic (Bacteroides Fragiliis) an improvement was seen both in the intestine’s permeability and in the behavioural patterns common to autism, with more interaction with other individuals and a reduction in anxiety and repetivity compared to untreated animals.
The research demonstrates for the first time the role of probiotics in favouring the abatement of symptoms of autism. It is a precious stimulus for further experimentation on humans, also in light of the fact that the rodents used in the experiment showed signs of damage to neurological development caused by environmental pollution.