December 18, 2016
1 min read

Baylor investigates antibiotic use, children’s improved autism symptoms

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Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine initiated a study in collaboration with the non-profit N of One: Autism Research Foundation to investigate the relationship between antibiotic use and improved symptoms in children with autism spectrum disorder, according to a press release.

“The question of why some children’s autism symptoms improve is important to me scientifically and personally,” John Rodakis, founder of N of One: Autism Research Foundation, said in the press release. “It was stunning to me that there was a frequently reported phenomenon of improvement that was not being used as a clue to guide further research. Today we begin that process.”

As parents of affected children, Rodakis partnered with Ruth Ann Luna, PhD, assistant professor of pathology and immunology at Baylor College of Medicine and director of medical metagenomics at the Texas Children’s Hospital, to understand why and when these changes happen in some children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and how these findings can help with future interventions.

“Because we have both witnessed the antibiotic effect in our own children, we knew this was a natural starting point targeting a gap in published autism research,” Rodakis added in the release.

The 2-year study will compare differences in gut microbiome and metabolome during antibiotic use among children who experience a change in symptoms and those who do not. Previous research suggested that abnormalities in the gut bacteria of children with autism caused by antibiotics may be behind the changes, usually improvements, in symptoms detected in some children.

Although numerous reports exist on children with ASD improving while taking antibiotics, and the growing recognition that the microbiome impacts autism, no other systematic investigation exists on this antibiotic effect.

“The support of N of One is enabling a much-needed study that would have been unlikely to be funded elsewhere,” Rodakis said in the release. “Our goals reach far beyond this first study and include using these initial data to more effectively subtype autism and thereby develop and deliver more effective microbial-based interventions.” – by Savannah Demko

Disclosure: Infectious Disease News was unable to confirm relevant financial disclosures at the time of publication.