According to the CDC, about one percent of the world population– or over seventy-five million people– have Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Despite the widespread diagnoses and countless research inquiries into the disorder, though, scientists have been unable to pinpoint its primary cause.
Still, past research has indicated that a potential interaction of genes and environmental factors could lead to the development of ASD.
And more recently, a slew of neuroscience studies pointed to gut biology as a potential contributor to ASD symptoms– specifically, how gut bacteria relates to the central nervous system and might result in characteristic ASD social behaviors.
In turn, researchers from the University of Calabria and the University of Rome sought to build on these findings via a new study conducted on mice.
The study, which has since been published in Neuroscience, included the transplantation of fecal microbiota from children with ASD to mice.
A control group of mice that were exposed to a synthetic compound known as VPA was also studied.
Following the respective transplants and exposures, the mice then completed various maze tests that are commonly used in neuroscience research.
And interestingly, the research team observed stark differences between the two mice groups.