ASU researchers use fecal transplants to help gastrointestinal problems with autism patients

- It's the first study of its kind in the world.

Researchers at Arizona State University are using fecal transplants to treat those with autism.

Gastrointestinal problems are common in people with autism, effecting nearly one third of them.

"It's very hard to treat and it's a huge problem for them if you have a 16 year old still in diapers because they can't control their bowel movements. It really effects their quality of life," said Dr. James Adams, Director of ASU Autism Research Program.

So scientists, like Adams, began focusing on younger autism patients.

Each week, researchers took fecal samples from healthy patients and then implanted those purified samples into those with autism.

"So what we found in kids with autism is that they're missing about 200 to 300 species of gut bacteria that play a lot of important roles like producing vitamins and help fight off harmful bacteria," said Dr. Adams.

The results from this new research are astounding.

Not only did they see an 80 percent improvement in gastrointestinal discomfort, but nearly 25 percent of autism patients saw an improvement in certain autism behaviors, including social and sleep habits.

"Just removing the pain and discomfort, diarrhea for years, constipation for years, is just a huge benefit in the quality of life and it will make someone a lot less irritable, and makes it easier for them to pay attention in school and to listen and to learn," said Dr. Adams.

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