Couple of studies that at first glance appear unrelated, but then again, maybe not ...
The evidence that autistic children have reduced gut biodiversity is interesting from two perspectives. Firstly, improving the range of gut bacteria must begin before conception as anyone who follows this blog will already know. The greater the biodiversity the better it seems, with other health conditions such as obesity and gut-related issues like Crohn’s exhibiting both reduced and deranged bacterial species in the gut. Secondly, the question I ask relating to autism is whether the absence of those three very distinct bacterial species is a side-effect of vaccination? If so, the much-maligned Dr. Wakefield may yet have his day in the sun!
The age of girls starting puberty is also interesting. Professor George Patten of Murdoch Children’s Hospital says "In the course of the 130 years, between 1830 and 1960, we saw a drop in the age of onset of periods from about 17 years down to about 12-and-a-half, 13 years." Numerous causative factors including improved nutrition, childhood obesity and exposure to exogenous hormones and environmental chemicals have been implicated. However this particular study shows a clear link to early puberty and childhood stress levels, with children who exhibit problems with social and emotional development, those who have an inability to deal with stress at age four or earlier, also those who undergo extremely early puberty.
My theory goes like this ... if these kids with social and emotional problems can be considered somewhere “on the spectrum” with autism at one end, is their inappropriate and early hormonal development also linked to deranged gut bacterial populations?
My strong feeling is that the issues are closely related and have their foundation in that 1.5Kg of bacteria that contain 10 times more cells and 100 times more DNA than we do. Even if that’s drawing a very long bow, everyone of us is a victim of the issues that compromise gut health, but restoring it is a really simple matter.