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Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC)
Autism Research Database
Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC)
 
Project Element Element Description

Project Title

Project Title

A probiotic therapy for autism

Principal Investigator

Principal Investigator

Mazmanian, Sarkis

Description

Description

Most research into autism spectrum disorders has focused on genetic, behavioral and neurological aspects of the illness, but people with autism also show striking alterations in immune status. What’s more, a significant subset of children with autism spectrum disorders show chronic intestinal abnormalities, such as loose stool and altered bacterial microbiota (the collection of beneficial bacteria within the intestine). Antibacterial treatments are reported to provide behavioral improvements in some cases. In addition, many children with autism have been diagnosed with food allergies and are on special diets. Societal advances (including 'Western' diets and antibacterial products) may have paradoxically compromised human health by reducing our exposure to health-promoting gut bacteria. The connection between gut bacteria, intestinal disease and autism is a promising area of investigation. Sarkis Mazmanian and his team at the California Institute of Technology used mouse models that show autism-like features to evaluate the efficacy of probiotics. They found that specific probiotic bacteria ameliorate autism-like behaviors in both environmental models of ‘induced’ disease (by mimicking viral infection of the mother during gestation), as well is in two genetic models of autism spectrum disorder. These studies are an important step in furthering research that addresses the connection between the gut microbiome and altered behaviors, a link suggested by studies in humans. Finally, Mazmanian’s findings may help validate the use of probiotics as a safe and effective treatment for autism when it is accompanied by gastrointestinal abnormalities.

Funder

Funder

Simons Foundation

Fiscal Year Funding

Fiscal Year Funding

250000

Current Award Period

Current Award Period

2014-2017

Strategic Plan Question

Strategic Plan Question

Question 4: Which Treatments And Interventions Will Help?

Strategic Plan Objective

Strategic Plan Objective

4O. Not specific to Question 4 objectives

Project Link

Project Link

A probiotic therapy for autism (External web link)

Institution

Institution

California Institute of Technology

State/Country

State/Country

California

Project Number

Project Number

322839

Federal or Private?

Federal or Private?

Private

Received ARRA Funding?

Received ARRA Funding?

No

History/Related Projects

History/Related Projects

A probiotic therapy for autism | 62500 | 2011 | 205897
A probiotic therapy for autism | 62500 | 2012 | 205897
A probiotic therapy for autism | 125000 | 2014 | 322839

 
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