University of Lynchburg DMSc Doctoral Project Assignment Repository

University of Lynchburg DMSc Doctoral Project Assignment Repository


Family Medicine


Dr. Nancy Reid


Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD or Autism), is a developmental disability affecting one out of every fifty-four children in the United States. ASD affects children’s social abilities, communication, and behavior, and creates enormous financial and emotional burden on patients’ and their families. Despite the number of children diagnosed with ASD increasing each year, research has yet to yield an impactful treatment method. The relationship between the intestinal microbiota and brain activity has been well established, and has become a new area of research for potential treatment plans for ASD patients. This relationship, called the gut-brain axis, is still in early stages of research, however treatment modalities including probiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, fecal transplantation, and several others have been evaluated. Unfortunately, the results have not provided definitive data due to limited research and methodology. Furthermore, the vast differences in individual intestinal microbiome based on age, gender, dietary limitations, and geographical location, add increased difficulty in determining a standardized treatment regimen. Probiotics appear to provide the most universal benefit, however the scope of this benefit in the regulation of the intestinal biome and reduction of ASD-like symptoms, has yet to be fully determined. Ultimately, more in-depth research is needed to determine if these treatment options are truly efficacious in reducing ASD behaviors in children.


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