The Gut-Brain Link to Autism - Are short chain fatty acid fermentation products from opportunistic clostridial infections possible environmental triggers in autism? by Derrick MacFabe, MD
The lecture examines the possible role of infectious agents in the causes and symptoms of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). It discusses the effects of a series of infective and dietary agents of increasing incidence which are capable of inducing brain changes and complex behaviors (i.e., aggression, biting, food craving, perseveration, social impairment, hyperactivity, obsessive compulsive activity, sensory sensitivity) in humans and experimental animals. Dr. MacFabe presents his current research examining the ability of a panel of gut bacterial metabolic products (i.e., short chain fatty acids) associated with antibiotic induced clostridial infections, and their ability to produce brain neuroinflammatory, metabolic, epigenetic and behavioral changes closely resembling those found in ASDs. It discusses the hypothesis that ASDs are produced by pre- or post-natal antibiotic resistant clostridial infections in sensitive subpopulations.
Derrick MacFabe, MD is an Assistant Professor and Director of the Kilee Patchell-Evans Autism Research Group, Departments of Psychology (Neuroscience) and Psychiatry (Division of Developmental Disabilities) at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Western Ontario, in London, Ontario Canada. He is examining the role of genetics, biochemistry and environment in the pathophysiology of autism spectrum disorders. Dr. MacFabe's work recently has been listed among the "Top 50 Scientific Discoveries in Canada" by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.