Enteric and dietary short chain fatty acids - Possible triggers of autism-associated epilepsy and movement disorder by Derrick MacFabe, MD

On January 2, 2010, 9:42 am

Clinical observations suggest that gut and dietary factors transiently worsen, and in some cases appear to improve, symptoms in autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Recent clinical evidence suggests there is a high association of seizure disorder and abnormal electroencephalographic changes in this difficult to examine population. Furthermore, tics and repetitive behaviors, core features of persons with ASDs, resemble behaviors found in movement disorders. Can a common factor link these disparate findings in autism? This lecture outlines basic science and clinical evidence that short chain fatty acids, present in diet and produced by opportunistic gut bacterial infections, may be key triggers in ASD associated seizure and movement disorder. It discusses that these compounds have widespread effects on behavior, brain electrical activity, immune system and metabolism, which may have major implications in ASD diagnosis, cause and treatment.

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.

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