SUMMARY: B-GOS stands for galactooligosaccharide and it is a prebiotic. In this experiment, B-GOS was fed to the fecal microbiota of children with and without autism, in vitro. Results showed that this prebiotic increased the number of Bifidobacteria (good bacteria) and Clostridium (not so good bacteria because it metabolizes tryptophan into metabolites that can alter behavior in the brain) in both groups of children. In the discussion section, lactate and ethanol production increased after using the prebiotic. Neither of these products produced positive results in behavior. Lactate can cause more panic attacks and ethanol breaks down into acetaldehyde (a toxic product). The conclusion however, talks about the study showing promising and positive results. Personally, I felt that the study showed some promising results, but also some mixed results. The conclusion of the study is correct in saying that further research is needed and in vivo experiments should be conducted.
LESSON COMMENTS: A good article to teach students to think critically and to not accept everything they read on the internet. I assigned the discussion section to my students after teaching them about some important microbiota basics (types of bacteria, types of fermentation products, the gut-brain connection) and had them come up with their own conclusions first, before reading the actual conclusion of the article. If students are able to pick out inconsistencies in papers such as this one, it’ll be easier for them to pick out inconsistencies and biases in mainstream articles.
Grimaldi, R., Cela, D., Swann, J. R., Vulevic, J., Gibson, G. R., Tzortzis, G., & Costabile, A. (2016). In vitro fermentation of B-GOS: impact on faecal bacterial populations and metabolic activity in autistic and non-autistic children. FEMS microbiology ecology, 93(2), fiw233.