A double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover-designed probiotic feeding study in children diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorders
Parracho, H. M. R. T., Gibson, G. R., Knott, F. , Bosscher, D., Kleerebezem, M. and McCartney, A. L. (2010) A double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover-designed probiotic feeding study in children diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorders. International Journal of Probiotics and Prebiotics, 5 (2). pp. 69-74. ISSN 1555-1431
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There is growing interest in the role of gastrointestinal (GI) pathology and clinical expression of autism. Recent studies have demonstrated differences in the faecal clostridial populations harboured by autistic and non-autistic children. The potential of Lactobacillus plantarum WCSF1 (a probiotic) to modulate the gut microbiota of autistic subjects was investigated during a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover-designed feeding study. The faecal microbiota, gut function and behaviour scores of subjects were examined throughout the 12-week study. Lactobacillus plantarum WCFS1 feeding significantly increased Lab158 counts (lactobacilli and enterococci group) and significantly reduced Erec482 counts (Clostridium cluster XIVa) compared to placebo. Probiotic feeding also resulted in significant differences in the stool consistency compared to placebo and behaviour scores (total score and scores for some subscales) compared to baseline. The major finding of this work was the importance of study protocol in relation to the specific considerations of this subject population, with an extremely high dropout rate seen (predominantly during the baseline period). Furthermore, the relatively high inter-individual variability observed suggests that subsequent studies should use defined subgroups of autistic spectrum disorders, such as regressive or late-onset autism. In summary, the current study has highlighted the potential benefit of L. plantarum WCFS1 probiotic feeding in autistic individuals.