|Ashlee 12 on Flickr|
After seeing his son’s autism symptoms improve following a course of antibiotics, a father is urging researchers to examine a link between the two. John Rodakis reports that his son’s autism symptoms improved dramatically after a course of antibiotics.
Rodakis’ son was diagnosed with “moderate to severe” autism several months before taking amoxicillin for strep throat. On the 4th day of his antibiotics course, Rodakis’ son showed improvements in eye contact and speech. He ” became less ‘rigid’ in his insistence for sameness and routine; and also displayed an uncharacteristic level of energy.” Rodakis’ son continued to improve and on day 6 was able to ride a tricycle.
After seeing this dramatic improvement, Rodakis investigated further. Rodakis has an MBA and a background in molecular biology. During his investigation, Rodakis found a 1999 study documenting improvement of autism symptoms in 8 of 10 children given antibiotics. In addition, he spoke with other parents who reported improvements on antibiotics.
Then Rodakis contacted Dr Richard Frye, head of the Autism Research Program at Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute. Rodakis and Frye collaborated with researchers in other medical fields. They established two goals, a research trial and a scientific conference exploring connections between autism and the microbiome.
|Human Gut Microbe by Genome.gov|
The conference was held in June 2014 and resulted in a special issue on Autism and The Microbiome published in the journal Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease. The special issue includes an article by Rodakis summarizing his son’s experience with antibiotics and research on the connection between autism and the microbiome.
“Current research is demonstrating that gut bacteria play previously undiscovered roles in health and disease throughout medicine. The evidence is very strong that they also play a role in autism. It’s my hope that by studying these antibiotic-responding children, we can learn more about the core biology of autism, said Rodakis.
Rodakis does not want parents of children with autism rushing to get antibiotics thinking they are an effective treatment for autism. “I’m not advocating the use of antibiotics as a long-term treatment for autism, but I would like to see serious medical research into why some children seem to improve when taking antibiotics,” Rodakis told Healthline.