A new vaccine could make the lives of kids with autism a whole lot easier. As parents know, children on the spectrum often struggle with tummy troubles -- diarrhea and constipation. It turns out there's an intestinal bacteria that's common among kids with autism. Doctors are working on a vaccine that would target symptoms of autism caused by that bacteria.
To be clear, it's not going to wipe out all symptoms of autism. This is a very narrowly-targeted drug that would be used to treat just gastrointestinal disorders. But with everything else parents and kids have to deal with already, can you imagine crossing that problem off your list?
Unfortunately, it's going to be years before this drug is on the market (if ever), possibly over a decade. It still has to go through trials and approvals. That's not so helpful for parents with kids now, though it give hope for future generations.
Doctors still don't quite understand why kids with autism are more likely to have the bacteria, clostridium bolteae (or C. bolteae). But around 90 percent of them have it, and of those kids, 75 percent have severe gastrointestinal problems. Antibiotics can control the symptoms for some kids, somewhat. But the vaccine would be more effective.
So it would be amazing if kids with autism and terrible GI problems could get rid of the latter. But here's a plus: Understanding C. bolteae could bring doctors closer to understanding how autism itself works. There's a theory that's building momentum that the bacteria and toxins may affect the severity of autism symptoms. But we're still a long ways from understanding exactly how and why.
Are GI problems among your child's symptoms?