So this story about a vaccine that helps with gut problems and thereby symptoms of autism is getting quite a run in the media at the moment. Over and again in journals that should really know betterwe see this same article, which I gather is a press release due to the similar wording .
Thankfully there are some out there in cyberland trying to provide a measure of sense to this news story.
As the above article by beforeitnews notes, many children without autism suffer from gastrointestinal illness and discomfort (and many with autism don't ). Why then is this vaccine not marketed at children for whom these GI conditions are ongoing rather than autism specifically? Call me cynical, really feel free, but I think its pretty obvious to anyone with any links to autism there's money, big money, to be made from desperate parents. Perhaps parents of children with gastro-intenstinal illness without autism might want to demand some answers here?
Please don't get me wrong. I am all for treatments that alleviate suffering. And I know there are many people on the spectrum who do struggle with chronic GI issues. Anything that might provide relief in this regard, and as an added bonus provide amelioration of other symptoms and behaviours that are causing distress or disability is awesome. But it's not a cure. The vaccine makers don't claim to affect genes, or neurology in any meaningful way. This is not proof of the leaky gut theory as far as I can tell.
I wont be lining my kids up for any trials of this drug down the road. Neither have gut issues to speak of. At least nothing that cant be improved with more water and fibre. Which brings me to the spurious claim of 90% of autistic children having GI issues. These authors don't seem to realise that autism is not a child only condition. So for starters how many adults have similar problems and if the numbers are different then why? But also 90%? Really? I note none of the articles above give a citation for that stat. Again, to me this looks like marketing propaganda.
So I say this is really interesting research, and its great there is something on the horizon that will potentially make the lives of many far more comfortable. I'm all for that. But I'd also ask people to show some caution in terms of expectation. And to read the ongoing new articles with some skepticism if the few that are already doing the rounds are anything to go by.