LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- A conference in Little Rock next month will bring together some of the world's foremost scientists to discuss one of the hottest topics in medical research: the microbiome. Investigators, parents and others interested in autism and chronic disease are invited to attend this symposium, to learn more about how the microbiome relates to these disorders and the potential role that manipulating the microbiome has for helping those who cope with these disorders.
Most realize that we have bacteria that live in our gut. The old view was that these bacteria helped us digest our food, but that view is outdated. Recent research indicates that this collection of microorganisms or "microbiome" that lives on and in us may work like a "super organ" influencing all manners of our health, development, and immune function. Indeed, in addition to autism, emerging research is suggesting profound links between the health of the microbiome and a number of chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Furthermore, we now think of the microbiome as not just bacteria that live in our guts, but the ecological landscape of bacteria, viruses and fungi that reside in us and on us to promote our overall well-being.
Scientists are starting to realize that there may be more linkage between these conditions than previously believed. All of these conditions may manifest as a result of disruption of an individual's microbiome. While these microorganisms living on and in our bodies are not pleasant to think about, they may very well be important for maintaining overall health. Researchers believe that when these populations of organisms that reside within and on our bodies get disrupted for one reason or another, it can upset our biological landscape and set the stage for negative consequences that can give rise to disease conditions.
Scientists are feverishly trying to better understand the microbiome and how it relates to human health and disease and how possibly manipulating the microbiome may be very important for therapeutic strategies for specific disease conditions.
Autism spectrum disorder is growing at an alarming pace. According to the CDC, the current rate of autism is 1 in 68 (1 in 42 boys). That's almost 2.5 percent of boys! Despite this rise, we still don't know what autism is, what causes it or have a single treatment for it. Emerging research, however, is suggesting that for many children with autism, disruptions of the microbiome may be at play.
To shed light on this phenomenon, N of One: Autism Research Foundation, a non-profit focused on discovering the fundamental causes and biology of autism, has joined with the Arkansas Autism Alliance, a collaborative effort through UAMS, ACH, and ACHRI, to host an upcoming conference on the Arkansas Children's Hospital campus. The event will bring together an extraordinary group of researchers from all over the world to conduct a symposium on emerging research about the microbiome and its potential links to autism.
The June 26 conference is intended for the general public, including researchers, clinicians, parents and others who might have an interest in not only autism, but also how the microbiome plays a part in health and disease.
The one-day conference will host world-renowned researchers from across the United States, Canada and Sweden.
The conference is free to attend. Those interested can register at www.microbiome-autism.com.
Arkansas Autism Alliance
The Arkansas Autism Alliance is a standalone institution created as a parent centered resource that is a collaborative effort amongst clinicians and researchers through UAMS, ACH, and ACHRI with a provision to provide the best possible care to children affected by autism and to understand its causes through high quality research initiatives. Learn more at www.arkansasautismalliance.org.
About N of One
N of One: Autism Research Foundation is a non-profit foundation catalyzing and funding breakthrough research into the causes and biological mechanisms of autism spectrum disorders. Founded by a former medical venture capitalist with a child with autism, N of One takes an investment-like approach by working closely with the world's top researchers to identify, high-return research investment opportunities that are not currently being funded that can lead to major breakthroughs in our understanding of autism. For more information and find out how you can help support breakthrough autism research that can lead to better answers for today's generation of autistic children, please visit www.NofOne.org.