Skip navigation

Calls to Action

National Geographic Spotlights Autism’s Gut-Brain Connection

Autism Speaks at the forefront of funding related research, including the development of probiotics that may improve symptoms
November 14, 2014

Online today in National Geographic, science writer Melissa Pandika shines a spotlight on research exploring how disruptions in the body’s normal digestive bacteria may worsen autism symptoms in some individuals with the disorder.

“Research has revealed striking differences in the trillions of bacteria - collectively known as the microbiome—in the intestines of autistic and healthy children,” she writes. “But the gut bacteria in autistic individuals aren't just different. Researchers at the California Institute of Technology have shown for the first time that they may actually contribute to the disorder.”  

Autism Speaks is at the forefront of advancing this promising field of investigation, with a major new research initiative exploring autism’s “gut-brain connection.” See “Autism Speaks Invests $2.3 Million in Research on Gut-Brain Connection.”

“Listening to our parents, we hear how often autism and GI problems can go hand in hand,” says Autism Speaks Chief Science Officer Rob Ring. “While we now know that autism and gastrointestinal problems frequently co-occur, improving our understanding of the underlying biology becomes essential for developing needed treatments.” 

Also see, "Autism Speaks & GI Research: Listen to Families, Build on Science" and “Can Probiotics Help Teen with Autism and Lactose Intolerance,” by gastroenterologist Tim Buie, of the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network.

Read the full National Geographic story here.

Watch Autism Treatment Network Pediatric Gastroenterologist Dr. Timothy Buie, MD explain the gut-brain connection.