Ok…I am a little googly-eyed today. Not a screaming and fainting at the sight of the Beatles kind of hysteria –a more a refined, intellectual, only-slightly-girly kind of fandom. 🙂
So here is my embarrassing confession for the day: only once in my life have I ever written fan-mail and that was to Dr. William Parker, the researcher at Duke University who is studying (among other things) the immunological effects of helminths. In October 2010, I came across William’s online article, Reconstituting the Depleted Biome to Prevent Immune Disorders[i] and thought, “This guy totally gets it!” I couldn’t resist – I wrote to him telling him (in so many words) that he rocks on with his bad self. (William has subsequently become a friend but no, I have never asked him if he read that letter! Ugh.)
However, back on January 19th I kind of wrote a sorta fan-letter blog post about Dr. Derrick MacFabe, a researcher at the Cumming School of Medicine in Canada. As I told you, I have been a huge admirer of Dr. M’s research for many years. In the dark and dismal world of autism research (which, as you readers know, I pretty much regard as an oxymoron), he has been one of the few shining lights. So you can imagine how thrilled I was this morning to see his positive comment on the post this morning! Holy cow! Dr. MacFabe actually read the Biome Buzz!
Dr. MacFabe heads up a multi-disciplinary research group that studies “…how metabolic products of the gut microbiome control brain function and behavior in autism, and also related neuropsychiatric conditions, such as obsessive compulsive, anxiety, movement, eating and learning disorders. We are particularly interested in the role of short fatty acid metabolites of gut bacteria and their role in autism and the development of novel clinical biomarkers and therapies to prevent, identify, screen and treat the disorder.” The website he provides us in his comment contains copious amounts of research, and videos for you visual types.
I was skimming through Dr. M’s research on the website and came across a paper that I’ll write about in my next post: Enteric ecosystem disruption in autism spectrum disorder: can the microbiota and macrobiota be restored?
“Many lines of scientific research suggest that Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) may be associated with alterations in the enteric ecosystem, including alterations of the enteric macrobiome (i.e. helminths and fauna) and changes in predominant microbiome species, particularly a reduction in microbiome species diversity.”[ii]
Their conclusion: “If these theoretical models prove to be valid, they may lead to the development of practical interventions which could decrease ASD prevalence and/or morbidity.” Yes, for scientists this is all still theoretical. For us in the real world – not so much. Based upon 21 years of experience in the autism world, my observations of the kids I’ve worked with (including my own son) and my experience with the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, probiotics, prebiotics and helminths…there’s a 100% certainty that these interventions work. But obviously, we need to know a whole lot more. Alex is a hell of a lot better but he’s still profoundly autistic and sick. So I am very grateful (more than I can say) to have researchers like William and Dr. MacFabe out there.
Thanks again, Dr. M.
[ii] Slattery, J, MacFabe, DF, Kahler, SG, Frye, RE. Enteric ecosystem disruption in autism spectrum disorder: can the microbiota and macrobiota be restored? Current Pharmaceutical Design. 2016;22(40)6107-6121.