New Research Clarifies Connection Between Autism and Microbiome

The biological roots of autism continue to perplex researchers, despite a growing body of studies looking at an increasing array of genetic, cellular, and microbial data. Recently, scientists have homed in on a new and promising area of focus: the microbiome. This collection of microbes that inhabit the human gut has been shown to play a role in autism, but the mechanics of this link have remained awash in ambiguity. Taking a fresh computational approach to the problem, a study published on June 26, 2023 in Nature Neuroscience sheds new light on the relationship between the microbiome and autism. This research — which originated at the Simons Foundation’s Autism Research Initiative (SFARI) and involved an innovative re-analysis of dozens of previously published datasets — aligns with a recent, long-term study of autistic individuals that centered on a microbiome-focused treatment intervention. These findings also underscore the importance of longitudinal studies in elucidating the interplay between the microbiome and complex conditions such as autism. The open-access article is titled “Multi-Level Analysis of the Gut–Brain Axis Shows Autism Spectrum Disorder-Associated Molecular and Microbial Profiles.”
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