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Small Study Shows BIG Success: Fecal Microbial Transplants and Autism

MicrobiomeBy Teresa Conrick

I am a big believer in the bacteria of the Microbiome being a huge piece in Autism.  This study,hot off the press, has me hopeful and optimistic because I have a severely affected daughter with both a GI and autoimmune diagnosis but also --- AUTISM. MANY of our kids and young adults suffer with GI issues and behaviors connected. The more severe the Autism, the more severe the GI issues.

ASU Gut microbe study shows promise as a potential treatment for autism 


The key to fighting autism might lie not in the mind, but in the gut.

A team led by Arizona State University researchers is taking a novel approach in the search for effective autism treatments by focusing on improving the gut microbiome through fecal microbial transplants.....

...The treatment program showed long-term benefits, including an average 80 percent improvement of gastrointestinal symptoms associated with autism spectrum disorders and 20-25 percent improvement in autism behaviors, including improved social skills and better sleep habits....

.....The microbes added through the treatment program remained after treatment stopped.

"That is compelling, because not only did we provide good microbes, but the microbes we provided changed the gut environment in a way that helped the host recruit beneficial microbes and allowed them to stay around,.......

Very important work happening at ASU and my deep gratitude to Jim Adams, Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown and Dae-Wook Kang. We have very ill children and the medical treatments for Autism have not been researched enough.  This is good news and also shows the importance of the Microbiome in other neurodegenerative diseases.

The Microbiome is also being implicated in Alzheimer's:  

All the results suggest that AD may begin in the gut, and is closely related to the imbalance of gut microbiota. Modulation of gut microbiota through personalized diet or beneficial microbiota intervention will probably become a new treatment for AD.

The Microbiome is also being implicated in Parkinson's:

Scientists in California say they have transformed understanding of Parkinson's disease. Their animal experiments suggest the brain disorder may be caused by bacteria living in the gut....The scientists believe the bacteria are releasing chemicals that over-activate parts of the brain, leading to damage.

The findings could eventually lead to new ways of treating the disease, such as drugs to kill gut bugs or probiotics.

These findings are turning the paradigm of Autism from being, Autistic Disturbances of Affective Contact, that Leo Kanner described from his psychiatry chair in 1943, after meeting those first eleven children of the 1930's, to a treatable, medical condition, with roots to the gut Microbiome. 

Stay tuned!

Teresa Conrick is Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.



Great article,
Fecal microbial transplants are helping a suprising number of diseases these days.


I just watched a Nova program called "What's Living in You?" A lot of it is about fecal transplants.

But there were other topics. The program claimed that the Amish have 1/2 the rate of allergies of other Americans. One microbiologist opined that this is because they live in such close proximity to their farm animals. Maybe, but I would think that would also be true of many rural communities. Predictably, the narrator informed us that the Amish vaccinate their children (so that can't be the reason). My understanding, though, from reading (outraged) commentators on the net is that the Amish have a lower rate of vaccination. I would also expect their pesticide and herbicide usage to be different from other rural communities.

Back to fecal transplants. A researcher at Caltech has improved "autism-like" obsessive-compulsive behaviors in mice by giving them B fragilis, which he said is good for leaky gut. "Leaky gut," that sounds like it supports the hypothesis of some other scientist I've heard of...Wake-something.

It'll come to me.

So we have this increase in autism that is exponential, that can’t be explained by genetics alone...

And speaking of which, has anyone noticed that study coming out of Australia that's being touted as the first international study that refutes the 'autism epidemic'? Studying kids in Western Australia who were diagnosed in 2000 to 2006, it found that the severe cases remained flat, and it was only the milder cases that were significantly rising. The conclusion was better diagnosis was picking up the milder cases that were previously diagnosed as something else, or not at all. In an ABC report, the study's author, Professor Andrew Whitehouse, explained that autism was traditionally only considered in those who were severely impaired such as being mentally challanged, or having language deficits.

Interestingly, figures suggest that 40% of autistics are mentally retarded (having an IQ less than 70), and a third, 33%, are non-verbal. All said, at least 40% of autistic individuals can be considered severely impaired -- mentally retarded, or mentally retarded and non-verbal. Yet, when we look at the study's data, on average over the six years, the severe cases seemed to average less than 20%.

How is this possible? It seems that Prof Whitehouse abandoned his own admission to ABC of what severe autism is, and deployed another 12-criteria measurement gauge. I think it's fair to conclude that there was a fair amount of mentally retarded, non-verbal autistics being defined as 'mild' cases, that the study used to support its claim that it was only the mild cases rising.

And, 'The Band Plays On". Have to agree with Bob Moffit here.

Teresa Conrick

Thank you, Benedetta.


Thanks Teresa; You have always been such a sweet person, to respond and dig and look at these things.

Fasting for 24 hours would sure count toward low carb, no carbohydrates. Going back to the old original epilepsy diet of Hippocrates up through 1900s of "Starve them merciless"

I think that is the reason that the diets work.
I never thought I would ever know the answer or think I knew the answer to that ever. I thought it would be like that question 40 years ago that that was never answered to my satisfaction of why the common cold like polio virus turned deadly and crippling.

I can't believe Dan is just gone.
I read his very good article on Saturday and find out he was dead Monday.

My condolences to you Teresa.

Teresa Conrick


Here is the full study as it may answer a lot more of your questions-- I am pasting some important pieces - http://microbiomejournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40168-016-0225-7

"Clinical responses, gut bacteria, and phage double-stranded DNA profiles were monitored for 18 weeks. Briefly, a modified FMT protocol, termed Microbiota Transfer Therapy (MTT), involved 14 days of oral vancomycin treatment followed by 12–24 h fasting with bowel cleansing, then repopulating gut microbiota by administering a high initial dose of Standardized Human Gut Microbiota (SHGM) [37] either orally or rectally followed by daily, lower maintenance oral doses with a stomach acid suppressant for 7–8 weeks. A stomach-acid suppressant was used to increase the survival of SHGM through the stomach. Participants were followed for an additional 8 weeks after treatment ended, to determine if treatment effects were temporary or long-lasting. This report focuses on the safety and tolerability of MTT and its effects on microbiota, GI symptoms, and other ASD-related symptoms."

...." For FMT treatment, two routes of administration were compared, oral versus rectal, for the initial dose, followed by a lower maintenance dosage given orally for 7–8 weeks. Participants were randomly assigned to the two groups but allowed to switch if they had a strong preference or intolerance regarding the mode of administration."

..."Participant exclusion criteria included antibiotics use in the prior 6 months or probiotics use in the prior 3 months; dependence on tube feeding; severe GI problems that require immediate treatment (life-threatening); recent/scheduled surgeries; diagnosed as severely malnourished or underweight; and diagnosed with a single-gene disorder, major brain malformations, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, or eosinophilic esophagitis."...
" It is also relevant to note that GI and ASD symptoms slowly improved over the 10-week MTT treatment and 8-week observation period, since this observation is very different from FMT treatment for C. difficile, where a single dose generally leads to recovery within a few days [60]. Thus, it appears likely that extended treatment with FMT over many weeks, as done in this study, is necessary to observe these benefits."......
......"Together, these findings suggest that MTT is safe and well-tolerated in children with ASD ages 7–16 years. MTT led to significant improvements in both GI- and ASD-related symptoms, and the improvements were sustained at least 8 weeks after treatment. Coincident with these clinical improvements, both microbiota and phage from the donors appear to have engrafted, at least partially, in the recipients. This shifted gut microbiota of children with ASD toward that of neurotypical children is consistent with the hypothesis that gut microbiota may be at least partially responsible for GI and ASD symptoms."

Jeannette Bishop

Thanks, Teresa!


Gary; Maybe some of them should be called Scobby instead, since it looks like viruses are involved: bacteria, bacteriophages, and yeast.

Teresa; I am beginning to think why some special diet work is that a low carbohydrate diet would starve some of the gut bacteria out, especially if they might be stressed with some unusually viruses.

Do you know if besides antibiotic treatment if they also counted carbs; or some kind of low carb diet too?


How many others did this scenario happen to: Year 2001

1) I got RhoGham, Flu shot . Maybe even MMR. QUICKLY gained 50 pounds in pregnancy, quit work the day after shots (but didn't make connection of course).
2) Healthy Apgar 8 Baby born after 2 days induced by C-section (stanford noted I was 35 but I was 39).
3) At age 8 hours Baby given Hep B shot and rushed to Newborn ICU when he had oxygen De Sat (they did not tell me it was from the shot at the time. I pieced it together via records)
4) BABY put on IV Antibiotics --becasue since they couldn't admit it was the shot, right? So even though he did not have a fever, they put him on IV Antibiotics
5) Baby could not figure out how to nurse (which is right out of the hep-B monkey study). So he got formal and pumped breast milk.
6) Because of infection caused by C-section I was on antibiotics so happy breast milk baby--no one suggested this was an issue. I was in hospital for 4 days as was my son..
7) SO the vaccine caused issues, but the antibiotics caused by pretending it wasn't the vaccine was also an issue.
8) Baby went on to be fine except for after each round of vaccines after which he'd get ear infections, strep , round of antibiotics. And then after the MMR his gut just fell apart and he because "autistic".
So my point is--cofactor of antibiotics and vaccines due to refusal to accept which part is vaccines? Anyone else? And what did THAT do to the gut ? and what do we do now?


Where can we sign our child up? Any clues about practitioners, what we can do?

Teresa Conrick - Peggy, I hear you

Thanks you all for your thoughts and comments. Martha, yes I hope this (and other Microbiome manipulations) will improve life for ALL ages who have these issues.

Peggy- I am sorry to hear of your son's pain and aggression. If you can, there are many families on FB in groups that encompass many of these issues, sharing info and treatments, and possible doctors. Not sure if you have tried things like diet, probiotics, or if he has been to a GI doctor but the fecal transplants will hopefully be coming for so many of our very sick kids.

Gary Ogden

Benedetta: The way I remember the spelling is this: Symbiotic Combination of Bacteria and Yeasts. Lots of symbionts in this wacky world, such as our mitochondria, which were once free-living bacteria that took up residence; they pay the rent, though!

Peggy spano

I am a mom of a 22 yr old with severe autism aggression with something definitely wrong with the gut! He now poops his pants on a regular basis all morning but not out in public yet. He has had gas or belly pains since birth he is on milk of mag every night or he will be constipated and almost kill us with aggression. What can I do? I'm in a small town in upstate ny with no where to turn! Help!!! Don't know where to turn or what to do. No one will help. The Nuerologist turned her head in the appt when he hit me in the face and just said here is his refill and see ya! Fecal transplant?? My sister did that for c-diff to no avail! Put him away? For people to beat him and Medicate him? I DONT know what to do!!! Anyone know anything?

Martha Moyer

My son with IDD and autism has dealt with bowel issues all his life. When he was age 6 and 7 I spent most of my time trying to get him to sit down on the toilet and do a BM. At one point he did gut busting ones. He was making some success in bowel training until he ended up in an institution and they did away with bowel training. He had a major impaction and it ruined all bowel muscles. Today at age 43 he can't go on his own to do a BM. He uses the P.I.E machine, controversial but it does the job and keeps him from a colostomy. I am hopeful that scientists will learn how to solve the problem of my son. This story about fecal transplants gives me hope.


Corynebacterium diphtheriae
C. diphtheriae is best known for causing the disease Diphtheria in human beings, which results from production of Diphtheria toxin in conjunction with infection by a bacteriophage which provides it with the toxin-producing gene.

It was named in 1826 by French physician Pierre Bretonneau, who gave it the name Diphtheria from the Greek word which means "leather hide". It was named "leather hide" because of the leathery layer that grows on the tonsils, throat, and nasal passages.

So I am unsure if I was right to call it a scoby, that might not be the case at all.


Thanks Gary for the correction in spelling. I started to spell it this morning and drew a blank. I do that a lot. It probably would help if I had a fecal transplant. LOL. Scoby not scobie, maybe it is plural - scobies but then that is getting close to scabies. Oh dear.

The pertussis toxoid is a nice antigen that I heard is put in the Hep B as well. I asked one time and some one on here was so nice to put it up for me. I read it all and then darn it -- I forgot again. Sigh. Is this the way it is going to be for now on, now that I reached 60?

But it was in Mark and Dan Olmstead's second BOOK on vaccines that they said the Diphtheria that turned deadly was infected with a virus.

Gary Ogden

Benedetta: It is an actual scoby, like folks use to make kombucha, or a scoby-like growth? I use a scoby to make my kefir every day, but it doesn't look anything like the kombucha scoby.

Gary Ogden

Benedetta: Yes. They are called bacteriophages (viruses which infect bacteria). Whooping cough is very interesting. "The bacterium [Bordetella pertussis] is unique. It is a pathogenic parasite with habitat only in human beings." Pediatr Infect Dis 1984Sep-Oct;3(5)467-86. The other interesting thing is that, unlike the diptheria and tetanus vaccines, which use a toxoid, the pertussis vaccine uses a weakened form of the pertussis toxin. This being from 1984, I wonder if this has changed with the acellular vaccine.


Since the study starts with 2 weeks of oral vancomycin, the study should be done with an arm that has the vancomycin only, to control for the effect of a powerful antibiotic.


Where do we purchase the supliments?


Thanks Teresa for the link fix.

I need to correct what I said in a previous comment.

IT was not a virus infecting a whooping cough bacteria that made it produce more phlegm.

IT was a virus infecting the diphtheria bacteria that made it form a tough like scobie over the infected person's airway.

They never said in this new link you gave us - on more details about the study (Thanks for that too) if they gave the children initially the fecal transplant through the colon or they drank that too.

You know there is a lot more going on in that small intestines than the lower bowel/ large intestines or colon. Though it sounds disgusting , it might be necessary.

Teresa Conrick

Wanted to add this important info from another posting--


"Parents of the children not only reported a decrease in gut woes including diarrhea and stomach pain in the eight weeks following the end of treatment: They also said they saw significant changes for the better when it came to behavioral autism symptoms in their sons and daughters, who ranged from 7 to 16 years old.
The researchers collected this information from parents through established, standardized questionnaires to assess social skills, irritability, hyperactivity, communication and other measures. One of those tools showed the average developmental age increased by 1.4 years after treatment.

The average score on a scale for ranking gastrointestinal symptoms dropped 82 percent from the beginning to the end of treatment. And when the researchers asked parents to give feedback on 17 autism-related symptoms, they saw overall improvement that was sustained two months after the final treatment.
The researchers also asked the children's doctors to complete a diagnostic evaluation before the experimental treatment, at the end of treatment and eight weeks after that. Those results pointed to lasting benefits.
Doctor-reported symptoms (from the Childhood Autism Rating Scale) decreased by 22 percent at the end of treatment and 24 percent eight weeks after treatment ended compared with ratings at the start of the study.
Researchers also were able to document a rebalancing of the gut following treatment. At the end of the study, the bacterial diversity in the children with autism was indistinguishable from their healthy peers. The study also included a unique viral analysis by Ohio State scientists, made possible because of previous work in the world's oceans.
Gregory, who is particularly interested in the interplay between viruses and bacteria, used genetic testing to examine the viral diversity in the guts of the treated children. It rebounded quickly, and became more similar to the donor's microbiome.
"Those donor viruses seemed to help," she said.
Fecal transplantation is done by processing donor feces and screening it for disease-causing viruses and bacteria before introducing it into another person's gastrointestinal tract.
In this study, the researchers used a method called microbiota transfer therapy, which started with the children receiving a two-week course of antibiotics to wipe out much of their existing gut flora. Then, doctors gave them an initial high-dose fecal transplant in liquid form. In the seven to eight weeks that followed, the children drank smoothies blended with a lower-dose powder.
There currently exists no approved pharmaceutical treatment for autism.
James Adams, one of the study's lead authors and an Arizona State University professor who specializes in autism, called the results compelling, but cautioned that larger, more rigorous studies confirming benefits must be done before the approach could be used widely."

Teresa Conrick

Hi Benedetta,

Sorry about the link - here it is:



Been wondering about this since fecal transplants were reintroduced as a cure for C Dif in the 2000s.


Maybe using bacteria was just a slip up and they meant microbiome - which could be a virus.

I am still blown away that I found out while reading Mark Blaxill and Dan Olmstead's second good that it takes a virus to infect the whooping cough bacteria - that is infecting a human being to make that bacteria cause the producing of phelgm. Well something like that.


Sigh, The article on Parkinsons says the series of events remain a mystery.

On top of that -- I did not get why they thought it was a bacteria?


Gary your first link was interesting.
The out come of the health of a bunch of college students as far back as 1918, by looking at their records. This study is from a way back and covers a lot of decades. Wow!

If they got typical measles they did well with the flu of 1918 or later getting parkinson's.

If they did not get measles or got atypical measles they did not do well with the flu of 1918 or more came down with parkinson's later on.

That could mean they had a very poor immune system to begin with.

But this study Teresa is reporting might be building on that and showing it does begin in the gut - and goes to the immune system.

If these microbes activate those parts of the brain does that mean that those that come down with parkinson's later on was for a time fast moving and quick, before their brains become so damaged that they have trouble moving?

I guess a more important question would be - WHAT KIND OF BACTERIA? CAN WE KILL IT? Or Can we just reduce it?

George stevens

Need to attempt fecal transplants directly after hyperbarics. Let the oxygen kill the bad pathogens followed up by good flora and better blood flow


Teresa; The link "animal studies" is not working -- I tried on both aol and internet explorer. I can't get it.

Gary Ogden

Theresa: Regarding Parkinson’s, an interesting clue from long ago:
There is a pardigm shift underway in the understanding of how microbes influence disease and health, the virome:
This is where it is really happening in medicine, understanding the interactions among the gazillions of little critters which inhabit our gut and every available surface, and the role they play in health.

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