The research, from the US-based manufacturer of the probiotic supplement Pure Research Products suggests that the probiotic supplement brought about significant improvement in GI symptoms and ATEC (autism treatment evaluation checklist) scores in children with ASD - as measured by caregiver survey response and validated ATEC methods.
Led by John Sichel of Pure Research Products LLC, the research team found that nearly half of participating children (48%) saw decreases in diarrhea severity and more than half (52%) decreases in constipation severity - with an overall decrease in total ATEC scores seen in 88% of participants.
"With autism rates rising dramatically in recent years, there is an ever-increasing need to identify remedies for commonissues among children with ASD," explained Sichel and his colleagues. "Nutritional supplements may be well-positioned to help with the commonly reported gastrointestinal problems among children with ASD."
"According to the findings in this study, the probiotic/immunomodulator formulation Delpro holds promise as a potential remedy for children with ASD and GI dysfunction or abnormal stool testing," concluded the team - adding that future controlled trials of the probiotic supplement are now needed to assess this potential.
Writing in the Journal of Probiotics & Health, the research team recruited 33 participants through US-based charity Generation Rescue - with 25 participants completing the 42-day trial.
There were no inclusion or exclusion criteria for this survey and participation was voluntary. Potential participants were informed of the intervention composition, safety profile, and study requirements. Informed consent was obtained for all participants.
Children received a six-month supply of the nutritional supplement, each capsule containing 10 billion colony forming units (CFUs) of different probiotic strains (Lactocillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus delbruecki, Bifidobacteria longum, Bifidobacteria bifidum; 2 billion CFUs each) and 8 mg of Del-Immune V powder - "a lysed, lyophilised powder, which contains peptidoglycan, muramyl peptides, and nucleotide-containing components or DNA motifs that is derived from L rhamnosus V strain."
The measurement of response was determined by using the ATEC scoring tool - used to evaluate autism severity in four categories: (1) speech/language/communication; (2) sociability; (3) sensory/cognitive awareness; and (4) health/physical/behavior. ATEC scores were taken at baseline, in addition to a comprehensive record of GI and bowel complaints kept for 21 days - at the end of the 21-day period, the data was submitted to Generation Rescue and the parents received a three-week supply of the nutritional supplement and probiotic formula in capsules.
This daily record of each child's bowel behaviour, as well as drugs or supplements administered, was again recorded for 21 days using the Delpro capsules. Caregivers completed journals and again repeated the ATEC survey - allowing comparison with baseline scores.
The results showed a decrease in total ATEC score, signifying an improvement of ASD symptoms, said the authors.
Source: Journal of Probiotics & Health
"Improvements in Gastrointestinal Symptoms among Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Receiving the Delpro® Probiotic and Immunomodulator Formulation"
Author: West R, Roberts E, Sichel LS, Sichel J