By Teresa Conrick
As more and more is unraveled about the MICROBIOME in health and disease, causes and of course treatments are going to be discussed. The big questions will hopefully concern prevention of diseases as well. I recently came upon an article that made me wonder what direction Microbiome research could take:
Immunization with bacteria promotes stress resilience, coping behaviors in mice, CU-Boulder study finds
Injections of the soil bacterium Mycobacterium vaccae (M. vaccae NCTC 11659) promote stress resilience and improve coping behaviors in mice, according to a new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder.
The researchers also found that M. vaccae prevented stress-induced colitis, a typical symptom of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), suggesting that immunization with the bacteria may have a wide-ranging suite of health benefits.
The findings appear today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
“The immunized mice responded with a more proactive behavioral coping response to stress, a strategy that has been associated with stress resilience in animals and humans,” said Christopher Lowry, an associate professor in the Department of Integrative Physiology at CU-Boulder and the senior author of the new research....
The immunized mice continued to show decreased levels of submissive behaviors one to two weeks after treatment. M. vaccae treatment reduced stress-induced colitis...
...The research underscores the importance of an organism’s microbiome in preventing and coping with inflammation-related diseases and psychiatric conditions...
...“An injection of M. vaccae is not designed to target a particular antigen the way a vaccine would, but instead activates the individual’s immunoregulatory responses to protect from inappropriate inflammation...
Well that's interesting and could also make one wonder, could this be something for AUTISM? Maybe that's what the authors are inferring here in the full study about "PREVENTION" .full:
Although not specifically addressed here, immunoregulatory approaches may also prove useful in prevention of neurodevelopmental and other somatic and neuropsychiatric disorders in which elevated inflammation contributes to disease vulnerability (84).
But the idea of immunization as a treatment for Autism may be hard to fathom as many parents witnessed their children regress into Autism after vaccination. Are VACCINATION and IMMUNIZATION much different? In this case though, it does appear to be almost an immunization antidote in a way, as these good bacteria seem to be a Superman, able to turn back time to when the Microbiome was unaltered, or maybe undamaged is a better word? For many it may be the word -- IMMUNIZATION -- that will just be a turn-off.
The bacteria mentioned here, Mycobacterium vacca, has other ways it can enter the body - This study is from 2010 and is similar to the study from above ---:
Mycobacterium vaccae is a natural soil bacterium which people likely ingest or breathe in when they spend time in nature,
...We found that mice that were fed live M. vaccae navigated the maze twice as fast and with less demonstrated anxiety behaviors as control mice.....
But, in that same study -- immunization of M. vaccae enabled some NEURONS to grow -- Previous research studies on M. vaccae showed that heat-killed bacteria injected into mice stimulated growth of some neurons in the brain that resulted in increased levels of serotonin and decreased anxiety. Again, a very similar study.
So did the bacteria stimulate the growth of neurons? It sounds, according to the study, that it is possible and almost like a way to help the MICROBIOME of many but maybe especially those who show symptoms related to:
- stress-induced colitis , a typical symptom of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- preventing and coping with inflammation-related diseases and psychiatric conditions
- modulating the immune system
For many, this describes both the medical and subsequent behavioral signs of Autism.
Ironically, as I was typing this out, a kind reader from here at Age of Autism, sent me a few emails that seemed related. We are blessed to have a steady "family" of fans and supporters who follow us:
I have a 13 year old with Autism and PANDAS. A few months ago my daughter's biomed doctor put her on Ortho Molecular Products "Ortho Biotic 100 Million CFU." We are seeing changes in her and I noticed the other day on the side of the box it says "broad spectrum proven strains restore the natural diversity of the microbiome."
... this new probiotic seems to be doing something. She went to the zoo yesterday with her school and so I asked her what she saw there. Usually when you ask her a question her answer is "good," but she looked up at me and said "elephant" with no delay and good eye contact.
I thought maybe it would help your daughter.
....Oh also, my daughter is a red head with blue eyes.
Well, I thanked her very much for her support and thoughtfulness (Thank you again, Sandy! ), and for any that don't know, my daughter, Megan, is red-headed with blue eyes. Knowing other are with us on our journey in helping our ill and affected children is a comfort to say the least.
Her mention of Ortho Molecular's "Ortho Biotic 100 Million CFU" got me reading up on this product with with much interest, and with the above studies still in my brain:
Ortho Biotic 100 is a high-dose probiotic delivering 100 billion active cultures for cases of gastrointestinal (GI) and immune distress. Going beyond the threshold of traditional probiotic support, high-dose probiotics influence GI health and immunity in ways lower-dose probiotics cannot. Shown to activate over 1,700 genes involved in immune and inflammatory signaling, high-dose probiotics improve immune function, strengthen the gut-immune barrier, and promote inflammatory balance.
- Enhances Immune System Function
- Strengthens the Gut-Immune Barrier
- Promotes Inflammatory Balance
- Supports Digestion and Micronutrient Absorption
- Maintains Gastrointestinal Health
Well, it looks very promising. I am not endorsing it or the above immunization method but just want to show that treatments to change the Microbiome into a healthier state are increasing.
As you can ascertain, there are related studies and treatments on the Microbiome, and Autism is hopefully going to benefit immensely by them. Checking them out is important and the mode of delivery seems an appropriate research area. We might also walk away from this seeing that immunizations can alter the Microbiome. In this situation, we see benefit but could it also be true that immunization could do the opposite, as in well-baby visits?
Teresa Conrick is Contributing Editor to Age of Autism.