The surprising body part that could be causing Autism

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Shadi2
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29 Jun 2014, 7:25 pm

goldfish21 wrote:

The point is, you don't know and neither do I.. so referring to structural brain differences as "real," and discounting the symptoms and experiences of others as somehow "lesser," forms of autism than Temple Grandin has is ridiculous.


Ok now it is me who is getting upset (I'm trying not to tho lol). I already explained why I used the word real, because I couldn't think of a better word, and I said that I'm sorry that I used the word "real", I didn't mean the symptoms were not real. I could say "the physically observable type", versus the type where "the brain seems normal", would that be better? Or would that be insulting to you as well? And I didn't say the symptoms were "less real" or "less disabling", what I said is that if your brain is formed normally, and your "circuits" are "ready to work", your Autism is potentially curable, while in a person like Temple it is not, her "circuits" are "wired" differently, areas of her brain are actually very developped while others are underdevelopped, and a diet won't change that (but even if it was "curable", Temple already said that she would not want to be "cured").

It almost seems like you would prefer if a doctor told you that you that you are autistic, rather than telling you that your brain is normal and that you are affected by certain foods or bacteria, and that once you get rid of the bacteria, or quit eating the food that affected you, you will be perfectly "normal" (i.e. not autistic). I mean considering you are making a huge effort and following what seems to be a very strict diet to get rid of your symptoms, it would be good news if a doctor told you that your brain is normal and not "physically" autistic, it wouldn't be insulting, would it?


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29 Jun 2014, 7:30 pm

goldfish21 wrote:
Shadi2 wrote:
And a diet won't change this anymore than you would be able to grow a finger through a diet. The best it can do, assuming you found the right ingredients, is the same as medication, where it will alleviate some symptoms.


Maybe, maybe not. Who's to say that changing brain chemistry via diet & healing the intestinal lining wouldn't result in the brain structure changing and adapting to it's new environment? Especially IF it changed and adapted to all the chemicals that were thrown at it in the first place. Again, I don't know and don't pretend to.. but neither do you and nor should you.


Now we are getting in the "miracle" realm. Its like if you were telling me that you can make a leg that has been amputated reappear through a diet. Yes the circuits can readjust, to a point. A diet won't turn Temple's brain into a "NT" brain (and she wouldn't want that anyway).


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29 Jun 2014, 7:58 pm

Shadi2 wrote:
It almost seems like you would prefer if a doctor told you that you that you are autistic, rather than telling you that your brain is normal and that you are affected by certain foods or bacteria, and that once you get rid of the bacteria, or quit eating the food that affected you, you will be perfectly "normal" (i.e. not autistic). I mean considering you are making a huge effort and following what seems to be a very strict diet to get rid of your symptoms, it would be good news if a doctor told you that your brain is normal and not "physically" autistic, it wouldn't be insulting, would it?


Again, you're continuing to refer to some sort of different brain structure (which I may or may not have, I do not know) as autistic, and the exact same textbook signs & symptoms, potentially caused by something besides brain structure
(or at least exacerbated by), as somehow not autistic. That's my issue with what you're saying. IMO, there's no differentiation between the two. Either you fit the profile of symptoms and criteria that qualify one as autistic, or you don't.

And then like myself, and at least 117 others that were mentioned in the link to the AutismOne conference topics, we've been able to go from definitely on the spectrum to reducing symptoms via mostly diet to the point that I/they would not currently be likely receive a diagnosis of autism. Yet I know I still have subtle ASD traits, but only a highly trained expert would pick them out. That's why I've said I suspect it's part genetic part digestive/chemical induced. It's certainly not insulting to me that I've been able to reduce/eliminate symptoms to the point that I can lead a pretty normal life in comparison to a couple of short years ago, no. But it is insulting that you're trying to differentiate between my lifetime of experiences and those of TG's brain as if that somehow made my near life long autism symptoms invalidated as not being autism. Again, it's particularly silly to make these judgements considering neither of us has seen a scan of my brain to even compare to your theory.


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Shadi2
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29 Jun 2014, 9:01 pm

Thank you for the list.

I am presently reading your long message, but I am far from done. I already have a few questions tho.

Quote:
So, life goes on OK for a while and things are better on meds than off of them.. until things got worse.. MUCH worse.


Do you know why your ADHD medicine quit working? Or was it a placebo effect to begin with?

Quote:
... and also thought I might write a similar account of my life someday


Have you been officially diagnosed with the conditions you mentioned? Also did you ever look into bipolar disorder? Because so far, there is parts of your message that reminded me of that (my brother is bipolar). I'm guessing you probably have been diagnosed with dyspraxia and Tourettes tho, because these conditions are pretty obvious (my son has dyspraxia in addition to Aspergers, he also had a surgery for a lazy eye when he was very young, and has diabetes type 1).

P.S. To answer your previous message briefly: yeah I think there is a difference between someone who's leg is numb and someone who doesn't have a leg at all, eventho the symptoms are the same (you don't feel your leg). Sorry. And I'm sorry also if my comments are insulting to you, they are not meant to be insulting. And you don't have to keep trying to convince me that your symptoms were real, I believed you the first time.


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29 Jun 2014, 9:43 pm

To goldfish:

Still not done reading your other message, but I was thinking maybe you should be a herbalist? or maybe you would like homeopathy or aromatherapy? It seems to be a subject of interest for you, and maybe you would be able to help a lot of people through this passion. Myself I am interested in the healing power of plants, but I have never been as thorough as you are about the subject, I simply have a few books (which I consult once in a while), used some of the plants for salads, boiled some of them for "teas", and dried some of them for future use (I used to live in the country, we had plenty of plants, including plantain, clover, camomilla, etc). Now I live in the middle of the woods lol, here we do have a little bit of plantain tho, clover, mint, plenty of dandelions ... and mooses, bears, and wolfes.


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29 Jun 2014, 9:57 pm

Shadi2 wrote:
Thank you for the list.

I am presently reading your long message, but I am far from done. I already have a few questions tho.

Quote:
So, life goes on OK for a while and things are better on meds than off of them.. until things got worse.. MUCH worse.


Do you know why your ADHD medicine quit working? Or was it a placebo effect to begin with?


It's common that people have to increase the dosage as it's efficacy wears off over time. I believe it quit working for 2 reasons:

1) As a strong stimulant, it was actually fuelling the digestive infection I didn't know I had, making my intestines increasingly permeable, resulting in more and more food/bacteria chemicals leaking out into my bloodstream and wreaking havoc on my brain.

2) As a strong stimulant, it was leaching magnesium & sulphur from my body, which allowed the salicylate acid levels to increase higher and higher and mess with my brain.

Pretty sure I covered all of this in the thread and you'll see when you continue reading it.

Shadi2 wrote:
Have you been officially diagnosed with the conditions you mentioned? Also did you ever look into bipolar disorder? Because so far, there is parts of your message that reminded me of that (my brother is bipolar). I'm guessing you probably have been diagnosed with dyspraxia and Tourettes tho, because these conditions are pretty obvious (my son has dyspraxia in addition to Aspergers, he also had a surgery for a lazy eye when he was very young, and has diabetes type 1).


Only with ADHD - and even that was a self researched self diagnosis, as I've been transparent about, that was confirmed by my GP and the results of the Amen Test that I introduced him to. Everything else has essentially been self diagnosis via common sense (OCD is not difficult to determine, nor is depression or anxiety etc) and relentless researching online and reading books. I considered getting an official diagnosis of AS at one point only so that my immediate family members would believe what I had learned vs. angrily telling me I'm not a doctor and thus can't possibly know. Meanwhile all it takes is to read a few books on the topic and realize whether they match your entire life or not. Also, I was reluctant to get an official diagnosis as I did not want the label to hold me back in life in any capacity - i.e. professionally. Now I very highly doubt I would be diagnosed as on the spectrum as my symptoms are far too mild and no longer screw with my life in any big ways.

I've read about bpd, yes. Some say I had traits of it. It's possible that had I seen a psychiatrist during that time a couple years ago that they may have diagnosed me as bipolar. I believe that if I were to have seen several different psychiatrists and explained symptoms, or subsets of symptoms, that each of them would have diagnosed me with different things. I also believe that all of these things are all overlapping and exacerbated by intestinal dysbiosis - as I've stated at the end of the OP in that thread. As for others in the thread conversation calling me manic.. I wasn't manic, I was merely excited to share what I'd done and how well it was working for me. Anyone who had experienced what I had would have been thrilled to share it with this group. Forgive me for being happy about being able to share knowledge with people who could transform their entire lives with it as I have.

Dyspraxia & Tourettes weren't officially diagnosed, either, but I certainly had symptoms of them. Tourettes... I'd get frustrated and mad about something and could not possibly refrain from swearing. Man o man was I yelled at a lot for that over the years.. and I'd explain that I wasn't consciously deciding to use that language, that I could not help it, it just happened. I also had facial tics. Dyspraxia, like the other symptoms, was textbook. I didn't learn to run properly until I was 15 years old or so because I was so rigid and uncoordinated. And right down to fine motor skills, there was a time a couple of years ago where I could barely use my fingers to tie my own shoes. I couldn't use my hands to do anything unless I was on Dexedrine. (ADHD stimulant med, dextroamphetamine, I've since quit taking completely several months ago or longer now.) My balance and coordination were so poor that you'd swear I was drunk. It was bizarre. I think that the SA sensitivity contributed to these symptoms, in addition to extreme depression, anxiety, audio sensory overload, and very impaired executive functioning - as so many of these things were relieved when I detoxed the acids.

I don't know if there's a correlation to all of this and lazy eye or not - but an ASD friend has a lazy eye, as does one of my cousin's ASD kids. I've read that there IS a correlation to type1 diabetes. My nephew and both of my cousin's kids all have type1 diabetes. They also all have obvious signs of ASD. They also all have signs of digestive imbalances. I've read on some naturopath's websites that these digestive imbalances (candidiasis) are believed to be the cause of the onset of type1 diabetes in kids. It may be that the pancreas become physically infected and that's what shuts it down; I don't know - but it makes sense to me.


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29 Jun 2014, 10:06 pm

Shadi2 wrote:
To goldfish:

Still not done reading your other message, but I was thinking maybe you should be a herbalist? or maybe you would like homeopathy or aromatherapy? It seems to be a subject of interest for you, and maybe you would be able to help a lot of people through this passion. Myself I am interested in the healing power of plants, but I have never been as thorough as you are about the subject, I simply have a few books (which I consult once in a while), used some of the plants for salads, boiled some of them for "teas", and dried some of them for future use (I used to live in the country, we had plenty of plants, including plantain, clover, camomilla, etc). Now I live in the middle of the woods lol, here we do have a little bit of plantain tho, clover, mint, plenty of dandelions ... and mooses, bears, and wolfes.


:)

Once you get through reading you'll see that one of my close friends is an Herbalist and his father is a Naturopathic Doctor. I learned a lot from them, as well as because of them & then going off and doing my own research.

I'll always have an interest in these things, but I doubt I'd go put myself through school for a decade to make a career of it. I have other business ambitions I'm working on now, bit by bit, step by step. Slowly but surely I'll get there and realize my goals.

If you have even a passing interest in plants and what they can do, do yourself a huge favour and read this book:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Secret-Life-P ... +of+plants

The Secret Life of Plants is one of the best books I've EVER read on any topic. It really is as reviews describe... THE one book you must read about plants. I read it as a crash course into my Herbalist friend's plant world, but got so much more out of it than that. 8)


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29 Jun 2014, 10:15 pm

KC73 wrote:
Quote:
A year ago gut theory was around but considered an outlier. For a scientific theory to go from being considered a debunked outlier to mainstream in less then a year is astounding to me.

Its actually quite normal for a theory to go from apparently on the outskirts and laughed at to accepted wisdom very quickly, because the tipping point is reached and the medical and scientific communities go from ridicule to acceptance seemingly overnight. Its an acknowledged pattern with new information. And scientific progress very much isnt a slow linear process today.

I think something thats being missed here is that the gut-brain stuff ISNT exclusive to autism and, partly because of the resistance of the autistic community, most of the research and knowledge gains have happened in regards to other disabilities and illness. This isnt an anti autism theory and the "debunking" of it by people who feel its a threat to autistic identity is fear based not science based. I understand the fear of being wiped out but improving symptoms that in turn improve an individuals life is not a new idea either, and is again not exclusive to this community but does already happen in autism like with stuff like sensory processing therapys, speech therapys, use of assistive technologies etc, so treating symptoms through medicinal diet isnt really different than taking your autistic child to OT.


Usually prior to a tipping point event the meme/theory gains some sort of currency on the outskirts for a period of time despite mainstream belittlement. Nothing resembling this happened here.


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29 Jun 2014, 10:40 pm

ASPartOfMe wrote:
Usually prior to a tipping point event the meme/theory gains some sort of currency on the outskirts for a period of time despite mainstream belittlement. Nothing resembling this happened here.


Isn't that how you would describe WP's response to the thread in my signature? I certainly would.


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29 Jun 2014, 11:22 pm

goldfish21 wrote:
ASPartOfMe wrote:
Usually prior to a tipping point event the meme/theory gains some sort of currency on the outskirts for a period of time despite mainstream belittlement. Nothing resembling this happened here.


Isn't that how you would describe WP's response to the thread in my signature? I certainly would.


Yes, but in fairness in your case there were also issues related to presentation methods. But my point is at the time gut theory was not being mentioned not in the mainstream or even outliers Autism/disability media. It really was only being taken seriously in the wilds if the web. Compare that with another tipping point event "gay marriage" . 10 years ago it was belittled by most of the mainstream but the advocacy movement for it was getting mainstream coverage.


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30 Jun 2014, 12:05 am

Hi again Goldfish :)

One last comment about your other message.

I did see that you mentioned your friend is a Herbalist a few times. And yes I understand, there is other things you want to do, and it probably takes a while to become a Herbalist. It was just a thought because you seem very interested in this subject, and maybe you have a special talent for this. P.S. my previous doctor was a "regular" doctor, but also an osteopath (I think it is the right name but its been a while and I can't remember exactly, it is similar to chiropracy but it doesn't hurt, which is a big plus lol), and he was also an homeopath. He was a very cool doctor. Also thank you for the information about the ADHD medication, this is all good to know! And for answering my questions about your diagnosis, I appreciate.

About the lazy eye, it is often (not always) due to a side of the brain being more active and dominant than the other. My son himself always says that he is "left-brained". He doesn't have digestive imbalance. And his diabetes started when he was 15 year old (it seems a lot of people with diabetes type 1 become diabetic around that age). One of my ex-husband's cousin also had diabetes type 1 (also started around 15), and so did one of my ex brothers-in-law (for him it started when he was 25 or so), neither had ASD tho.

Quote:
It was after about the first week that the horrible depression was all but completely lifted. It was pretty awesome.


This really does remind me of bipolar disorder. I'm not saying that all your "ups" and "downs" were necessarily due to bipolar disorder, surely some of it was due to all the things and ailments you had to deal with, but it might be one of the causes that made it worse, to the least some things you describe reminded me a lot of my brother. The symptoms may vary depending on the severity and type as well, for example my brother has long "downs" and then long "ups" as well. On the other hand my husband's dispatcher (he drives concrete trucks) is also bipolar but his symptoms are different than my brother, he constantly gets ups and down (in the same day), and often it happens instantly, one minute he is nice, the next minute he is a complete jerk (and my husband is really tired of him lol), and he does get "manic" as well. Not every bipolar person becomes "manic", my brother doesn't, he just get depressive and it lasts for a while, then he gets in a good mood (for no apparent reason) and this lasts for a while as well. He feels better when he takes his medication, but sometimes he stops taking it because it also modifies his personality to a point (less down but also less high/up), and this bothers him. But about you, its not so much the "happy" part that hinted towards bipolar disorder, it is the succession of what you describe as deep depression, followed by the opposite mood (also for a while, like the "downs"). Again, I don't know, its just a thought. Anyway if you're cured, I guess it doesn't really matter anymore.

Quote:
It takes 6 months to detox gluten. Every once in a while if I ate something with it I'd pay for it for a few days as it screwed with my executive functions or just generally made me feel irritable or frustrated.


Note that most people who follow a specific strict diet will get this effect whenever they eat something they are not used to. Full vegetarians for example, if they eat meat, it will make them feel pretty bad, some will even puke, they also lose a certain "clarity of mind" that they get from vegetarianism, it can also make them more irritable than usual, and then it takes them a while to "detox" their body again ... which reminds me that I haven't checked the vegetarian youtube guy in a while (but I can't remember his name anyway lol).

Also I cannot stress enough that you shouldn't generalise, regardless of our argument about the nature of Autism (or different causes for the symptoms of Autism, etc), especially when talking about such a strict diet, as while it might help some people who react like you to certain food or whatever else, it might be detrimental to others. Personally I would suggest people should be very careful when trying new diets, and not change their eating habits too quickly, to give the time for their body to adapt, and also see if it truly helps them, or if it causes other issues. The same applies if someone is trying to become a vegetarian.

And the more I read, the more I realise that your diet is not for me. First of all, I don't think I would have the patience, nor the will, to be as focused as you are on such a diet. Also, among other things I never had any issues like you with dairies and gluten. But when you said "quit drinking coffee" you lost me completely lol, coffee is my favorite beverage, and I'd rather be dead than not be allowed to drink coffee. And honestly, so far I don't want to be "cured" anyway, of something that I consider a "difference", (including the impairments), I pretty much feel like Temple Grandin about this. But if I started having issues like the ones you mentioned (when you thought you were losing your mind, and couldn't tie your shoes anymore, etc) I would probably try everything I can to stop this kind of symptoms, it must have been truly scary.

I also saw that you mentioned Candida, if you look at my previous posts you will notice that I mentioned this as well, and that it can cause symptoms similar to Autism (and feeling "drunk" as well), and this has been known for a while, for some reason I thought you were talking about some other newly found bacteria. By the way, kimchi soup is my favorite meal, I eat it almost every day (and I like kimchi without the soup part too).

Ok I think I'm done for now, but there is a lot of interesting information in your post, and it was really nice of you to take the time to share with others. And despite our arguments about some words and the nature of Autism, I think you are a nice person who is sincerely trying to help others.

Also, I'm sorry that you went through such difficult times, I hope that everything will be better from now on.

And thank you for the book suggestion, I appreciate and will look into it (I don't have money right now, but when I do I might buy it) :)


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30 Jun 2014, 5:24 am

ASPartOfMe wrote:
KC73 wrote:
Quote:
A year ago gut theory was around but considered an outlier. For a scientific theory to go from being considered a debunked outlier to mainstream in less then a year is astounding to me.

Its actually quite normal for a theory to go from apparently on the outskirts and laughed at to accepted wisdom very quickly, because the tipping point is reached and the medical and scientific communities go from ridicule to acceptance seemingly overnight. Its an acknowledged pattern with new information. And scientific progress very much isnt a slow linear process today.

I think something thats being missed here is that the gut-brain stuff ISNT exclusive to autism and, partly because of the resistance of the autistic community, most of the research and knowledge gains have happened in regards to other disabilities and illness. This isnt an anti autism theory and the "debunking" of it by people who feel its a threat to autistic identity is fear based not science based. I understand the fear of being wiped out but improving symptoms that in turn improve an individuals life is not a new idea either, and is again not exclusive to this community but does already happen in autism like with stuff like sensory processing therapys, speech therapys, use of assistive technologies etc, so treating symptoms through medicinal diet isnt really different than taking your autistic child to OT.


Usually prior to a tipping point event the meme/theory gains some sort of currency on the outskirts for a period of time despite mainstream belittlement. Nothing resembling this happened here.


But it did. The Gluten Free Casein Free diet for autism has been a fringe staple since the early 90's (first proposed in 1991 according to wiki). This microbiome theory is giving a possible mechanism for that diet. So the "autism comes from the gut" meme has been in place in the parent-driven fringe for 20 years.



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30 Jun 2014, 6:12 am

Janissy wrote:
ASPartOfMe wrote:

Usually prior to a tipping point event the meme/theory gains some sort of currency on the outskirts for a period of time despite mainstream belittlement. Nothing resembling this happened here.


But it did. The Gluten Free Casein Free diet for autism has been a fringe staple since the early 90's (first proposed in 1991 according to wiki). This microbiome theory is giving a possible mechanism for that diet. So the "autism comes from the gut" meme has been in place in the parent-driven fringe for 20 years.


Yep, and the FODMAP and GAPS diets are being recommended by medical specialists for other genetic conditions that have a high comorbidity with spectum diagnoses. Like I said earlier, this gut-brain research is not exclusive to the autism community, and its got further in other sectors because in other sectors the focus is on improving patients health and wellbeing rather than a battle between people who want to "cure" and eradicate autism and those who want to protect the identity no matter what the personal cost. People who arent up to date with all this can argue that its fringe and without merit, but that doesnt make it true.



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30 Jun 2014, 7:36 am

You mean this GAPS diet:
http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/gaps-diet/

I'm not so sure about that.

There is no doubt that problems in the gut microbiome can have far reaching impacts. But it's also true that there is no one-size-fits all healthy microbiome. It's possible that some interventions that would be beneficial for one person will be harmful to another.

Accounts of positive personal experience are great, but the only way to really understand what's going on is to study carefully with the scientific method, as many researchers are currently doing.

Before I go squirting herbal mixtures up my rear, I want some solid evidence that it's a rational thing to do.

The "doctor' behind the GAPS diet shows many of the signs of a quack rip-off artist. I am extremely reluctant to put any trust in that kind of operator.

It's great that you have had a turnaround and your life is better, Goldfish. Unfortunately, the narrative you provide for your research and methods make it impossible to know which of the many things you tried contributed positively to the outcome. I am sure that some of the ideas you are discussing will be proven to have a positive impact for some people, but that doesn't mean the whole course is necessary or beneficial. Without testing there is no way to know.

Please read the "testimonials" section of this:
http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2011/ ... -vaccines/



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30 Jun 2014, 8:43 am

Adamantium wrote:
There is no doubt that problems in the gut microbiome can have far reaching impacts. But it's also true that there is no one-size-fits all healthy microbiome. It's possible that some interventions that would be beneficial for one person will be harmful to another.


There is the mystery that is being researched right now. Is there or is there not a one-size-fits all healthy gut microbiome?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microbiome

Quote:
Aside from simply elucidating the composition of the human microbiome, one of the major questions involving the human microbiome is whether there is a "core", that is, whether there is a subset of the community that is shared between most humans.[52][53] If there is a core, then it would be possible to associate certain community compositions with disease states, which is one of the goals of the Human Microbiome Project. It is known that the human microbiome is highly variable both within a single subject and between different individuals. For example, the gut microbiota of humans is markedly dissimilar between individuals, a phenomenon which is also observed in mice.[54] Hamady and Knight show that one can rule out the possibility that any species is shared among all humans at more than 0.9% abundance in the gut or at more than 2% abundance on hands.[53] Although there is very little species level conservation between individuals, it has been shown that this may be a result of functional redundancy as different communities tend to converge on the same functional state.[11]


bolding by me

While there are observed regional and individual differences, there may be a core that we are "meant" to have for healthy functioning.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Microbiome_Project

The Human Microbiome Project was launched in 2008 as a 5 year plan so it ought to be done by now but it does not some done yet (perhaps 5 years was overly ambitious). Nevertheless, there does seem to be progress and the research cited in the OP is part of that progress. Also there's this:

http://genome.wustl.edu/projects/detail ... e-project/

Quote:
With the development of more advanced sequencing technologies that shorten sequencing times and reduce costs, The Genome Institute is now able to more effectively sequence the massive amounts of genetic information present in the human microbiome and discover what types of microbes are important to our health and well-being and what types we should be targeting to prevent disease. As Dr. Weinstock explains: ?The microbes inside our body have a huge impact on who we are, what we do, how we feel ? and we have never really defined that very precisely. That?s what we need to do to truly understand the human microbiome.?


I think previous research was stymied by the fact that a lot of the microbes in question don't grow readily in culture. But sequencing makes this ambitious project more do-able. Maybe there is a "common core" of microbes that all healthy people share. Maybe there is not. Maybe there sort of is but there is species variation. Research is ongoing but I don't think this is fringe anymore the way it was when GAPS and GFCF were developed. I don't think there will be a one-size-fits-all diet. But there may be a one-size fits-all subset of the healthy microbiome which would be supported by diets that fall within certain parameters. Those parameters are currently trial-and-error guesses (such as goldfish's trial and error) but eventually the actual parameters will be worked out once we know

1)if there is a healthy core subset microbiome

2)if there are certain parameters a diet must fall in to support the growth of that subset

3) or if there are multiple healthy core subsets and therefore multiple diets that will support those subsets.



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30 Jun 2014, 9:40 am

It seems to me that this was a hot topic at the American Society for Microbiology general meeting this year and that a number of papers were discussed that suggest there is definitively NOT one healthy gut microbiome.

This was discussed by Vincent Raccaniello, Michael Schmidt and Michele Swanson on the wonderful podcast "This Week in Microbiology" episode #79:
http://www.microbeworld.org/component/c ... le?id=1697

The format of this fascinating podcast is that each of the scientists introduces and reads through a recently published paper or reports on a talk and the others comment on and interpret the content.

Great information is also available here: http://academy.asm.org/index.php/faq-se ... microbiome

An example of the kind of thing that can be learned there:

Quote:
Bacterial genomes can change dramatically more quickly than the human genome. Bacteria that are distantly related can exchange genetic material in several ways, allowing genes that provide a selective advantage in a particular environment to spread throughout mixed bacterial populations. This phenomenon is why antibiotic resistance is such a big problem; if one bacterium evolves resistance to an antibiotic, the responsible gene can be transferred to other bacteria, rendering them resistant too. While antibiotic resistance may be an undesirable trait from the human point of view, the capacity of bacteria to share genes means that the microbiome can change over time at the level of individual genes in addition to changing mixtures of species. Theoretically, because the microbiome can change much more quickly than the human genome, the microbiome provides a much more rapid means for humans to adapt and thrive when environmental conditions change.

One example of such an adaptation is the discovery of a gene for digesting seaweed in the microbiome of some Japanese people. The gene is rarely found in human microbiomes outside of Japan. Where did it come from? It is usually found in environmental bacteria that feed on seaweed in nature. At some point, one such environmental bacterium, possibly while passing through someone?s gut on a piece of seaweed, transferred some of its genes to a normal bacterial constituent of the human microbiome. The gene conferred the ability to digest the seaweed that is a common part of the Japanese diet, a capability that is now part of the genetic capacity of the human microbiome in Japan.


This supports a community of cooperating ogranisms or ecological view of the function of each of our bodies that is more useful and accurate than the closed unitary self/not self container view that most of us grew up with.

ASM search results on this topic put the lie to any suggestion that some conspiracy of big pharma owned scientists is (pick one or more) [suppressing the truth | avoiding research into the gut microbiome | silencing the good work of pioneers like the GAPS researchers ]
ASM search results

This picture of the vital role that the symbiotic communities in our guts play with the functioning of the rest of our bodies, combined with the complex picture of epigenomics and endophenotypes that is emerging from human genetic research, makes the probability of any one "cure" for a phenomenon like ASD seem vanishingly small.

What we have in autism is almost certainly the result of complex gene environment interactions, the cummulative impact of many alleles which each contribute only a small effect and many complex environmental interactions. Many of those interactions will be revealed to prenatal, the result of interactions in early fetal development, as there seems to be some evidence of prenatal ultrasound measurements showing different growth rates in the developing brains of autistic people at about 20 weeks.

Research is moving very rapidly (increase in power and drop in costs for genotyping is significantly outperforming Moore's law, for example) on all these fronts and we can expect much better answers to emerge as a result.