SUMMARY: This study tested the effects of diet and prebiotic on children with autism. The exclusion diet was a gluten-free, casein-free diet and the prebiotic was a galactooligosaccharide that selects for beneficial bacteria in the gut. The study found that the combination of the exclusion diet and the prebiotic had the greatest effect than either of the two therapies alone. The results are best shown in Figure 2a of the paper. The graph shows the lowest anti-social behavior in children on the exclusion diet and galactooligosaccharide prebiotic. This study is the first of its kind and requires further analysis and testing.
LESSON COMMENTS: This is a good study to demonstrate scientific method, dependent/independent variables, sample selection, and methodology. The articles referenced in this paper can be used to teach students about microbiomes and from there, how body systems interact and are connect to each other. This paper can also be used alone to brainstorm more questions and start a discussion with students on what the next step would be (addressing future research).
Grimaldi, R., Gibson, G. R., Vulevic, J., Giallourou, N., Castro-Mejía, J. L., Hansen, L. H., Leigh Gibson, E., Nielsen, D. S., … Costabile, A. (2018). A prebiotic intervention study in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Microbiome, 6(1), 133. doi:10.1186/s40168-018-0523-3