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Baby probiotics for prevention of ADHD and Asperger’s

Baby probiotics for prevention of ADHD and Asperger’s

Study under review: A possible link between early probiotic intervention and the risk of neuropsychiatric disorders later in childhood: a randomized trial

Introduction

Diagnoses of developmental disabilities in children are on the rise[1] in the United States, with increases in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorders such as Asperger’s syndrome (AS) leading the trend. Knowing how to stem this tide would be useful. But how?

One tantalizing possibility may be probiotics. Research into the “gut-brain axis[2]” is a hot topic right now, one we’ve most recently explored in NERD #6 in the article “Can fiber change your emotions?” While the research is still young, mounting animal and human[3] evidence suggests that the gut microbiome can affect brain activity. Since developmental disorders such as ADHD and AS involve the brain, perhaps probiotic supplementation may affect these disorders as well. This idea is bolstered by the fact that many children on the autistic spectrum have concurrent gastrointestinal issues[4] and abnormal gut bacteria. Furthermore, one hypothesis[5] for how ADHD develops, at least in some cases, has to do with immunologic hypersensitivity to environmental triggers. And some of the authors of the study under review found[6] that probiotics are able to mitigate some aspects of this type of hypersensitivity in children.

The sum of these ideas suggest that probiotics in early life could influence the development of ADHD and AS later in life. This study intended to put this theory to the test.

Who and what was studied?

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What were the findings?

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What does the study really tell us?

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The big picture

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Frequently Asked Questions

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What should I know?

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Other Articles in Issue #07 (May 2015)