We spend a lot of time talking to parents about vaccinations and their relationship to autism. While research does not prove the theory that the two are related, parents still struggle with the decision: to vaccinate or not?
Now comes a new series of studies showing that there is a correlation between gut flora--the microbes living in our intestinal tract--and the behavior of offspring in mice. This is a relatively new field of research, but there are numerous studies being done and the results are promising--and scary--at the same time. Last fall, we read an article linking autism in a child to obesity in the mother. The research showed a correlation between obese mice and their offspring who showed classic signs of autism (lack of social behaviors, difficulty with changes in routine, etc.), but what was most intriguing was the finding of a particular microbe that was missing in the gut of the mother. When that microbe was introduced into the diet of the offspring, the autistic behaviors were substantially mitigated. That's pretty exciting, but the research is still in its early stages.
Now scientists are finding that the same thing can be created in a healthy mother mouse by giving her antibiotics during and just after pregnancy (during lactation). The offspring of these mothers have the same autistic spectrum behaviors. And the good news? By giving the mother probiotics during the course of her antibiotics, the behaviors in her offspring can be reduced.
Again, these studies are in their early stages. But if there is a possibility that autism, asthma, allergies and many other illnesses in young children can be linked to gut flora, then the possibility of curing these diseases--or substantially curtailing the symptoms--is possible!!
Check out these articles for yourself!!