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Autistic children are low in vital gut bacteria (as Wakefield observed)
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Say it quietly, but the first part of maligned doctor Andrew Wakefield's theory about the MMR vaccine and autism has been proved right this week

Say it quietly, but the first part of maligned doctor Andrew Wakefield's theory about the MMR vaccine and autism has been proved right this week. Researchers have discovered that autistic children have low levels of three critical bacteria in their gut-so if it can be established that gut flora is affected by the vaccine, as Wakefield has suggested, medicine owes him one big apology.
Doctors know that autistic children usually have a range of gut problems, so researchers from the Arizona State University decided to find out if it was more than coincidence. They analysed the gut flora of 20 autistic children aged between three and 16 years and compared them to samples from 20 healthy children. The autistic children had fewer types of gut bacteria, and they were also low in three critical varieties: Prevotella, Coprococcus and Veillonellaceae. Of these, Prevotella is the most important as it plays a vital role in gut interaction.
The researchers don't know, however, why levels are lower in the autistic child, but if it can be established that the MMR vaccine can destabilise gut flora, Andrew Wakefield may finally have been proved right.
(Source: PLoS ONE, 2013; 8: e68322).

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