08/06/2023 | Press releases

Families needed for study to understand why some children with autism experience gut problems

Families are needed for a research study looking into the differences in the gut bacteria of children with autism and their siblings who do not have autism.

The study is looking at a child’s gut bacteria – called microbiome. This will help understand why some children with autism experience gut problems.

The research study, called FAMILY, is being run at ESNEFT and requires those taking part to complete questionnaires as well as give a poo sample at the beginning and then in six weeks’ time. Children who have autism will be asked to complete an assessment with a speech and language specialist.

Man in suit smiling at camera
Dr Ben Marlow

Dr Ben Marlow is consultant paediatrician (Neurodevelopment) at ESNEFT and Clinical Director at The Synapse Centre for Neurodevelopment. He said: “We know our microbiome has a big impact on our whole system. We’re keen to find out the relationship and the differences between children with and without autism.

“We’re looking for ten families where one child has a diagnosis of autism and has a sibling who doesn’t have autism both between three to 10 years old. We then need the sample from both children, as well as completed questionnaires looking into behaviour and diet.”

Families taking part need to live within the ESNEFT area. Parents/guardians will receive a £20 voucher. Children who participate will be offered a voucher for a local play activity (activities will be appropriate to the needs of participants with autism and their sibling).

To find out more about the study please email family@esneft.nhs.uk

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