At a young age, Ethan was diagnosed with moderate to severe autism. By age seven, despite heroic efforts by family and rehabilitation specialists, his vocabulary, diet and social interactions were all extremely limited. He wasn’t even potty trained.
Then one morning, just four weeks into a special clinical trial, Ethan’s mother Dana awoke to him with a big smile on his face saying, “Good morning mom.” The transformation was miraculous, a side of her son she had never seen before, and she burst into tears of joy.
It was a miracle of poop. Not quite the raw stuff out of the toilet but rather processed gut microbial organisms from a highly screened donor, which Ethan had been taking mixed in with his drinks as part of the trial.
“There is a very high correlation between [gastrointestinal] severity and autism severity—for language, for social interaction, for behavior, all of the core symptoms of autism,” says Jim Adams, a professor and autism researcher at Arizona State University. He had seen the connection fist hand when his daughter was diagnosed with ASD. “The question is, is this because of the pain and discomfort of the GI problems, or is it more than that?”…[more]