A frightening trend which has traditionally been leaving modern medicine baffled may actually have its roots in a surprising area of the body; the gut microbiome. The significant rise of neurodevelopment disorders in western society has received much attention over the last decade. Particular attention has been given to the rise in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with, according to the Mindd foundation, rates now at 1 in 63 Australian children and 1 in 22 US children under the age of two.
In a 13 year study, researchers in Finland have tested the theory that gut microbiota may be associated with a reduced risk of neurodevelopment disorders such as ADHD and autism. A relatively small test group, 75 infants were randomised to receive either a probiotic (Lactobacillus Rhamnosus), or a placebo during the first six months of life and then were monitored for the next thirteen years.
Shockingly, at the time the children were 13 years old, ADHD, or ASD, was diagnosed in just over 17% of the children in the placebo group and none in the group receiving the probiotic.
This is a monumental finding and could reflect the positive effect that gut bacteria have on the neurodevelopment of children. This notion is heavily supported by numerous experts in the field of the gut and microbiome, as I learned whilst filming for my latest documentary on the gut and microbiome.
“The gut microbiota play a critical role in the immune system, metabolic responses and neurodevelopment of the host.”
Professor Mimi Tang in The Gut Movie
Unfortunately due to the small population size of the study it is difficult to make any conclusive remarks about probiotic supplementation and neurodevelopment problems, however this does leave us with strong evidence to build upon with larger scientific research. Numerous factors could also play a role in the development of such conditions as ADHD & autism, such as environment, schooling and test methods used.
Regardless the gut microbiome continues to surprise us with its seemingly immense influence over our health & wellbeing. As I wrote in my last article, it could even be causing Multiple Sclerosis, among other conditions.
If you want to learn more about the gut and microbiome, be sure to attend a screening of my documentary, The Gut Movie, coming to a cinema near you. Watch the trailer & grab tickets by clicking the image below.
Sources for this article include:
https://www.nature.com/pr/journal/v77/n6/pdf/pr201551a.pdf <– for the full study article.