In the 16 years as a Foundation, we have never been this excited about the direction of research. Because of your generosity, and our willingness to fund “out of the box” ideas, great progress is being made.
As you may be aware, the majority of our funding has been going toward studying the gastrointestinal tract and specifically, bacteria differences in people with autism. Dr. Jim Adams at Arizona State University along with Dr. Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown and Daewook Kang have published studies proving major differences in the total make up of types and groups of populations of bacteria in people with autism. We have focused on the GI tract and immune system for many years, as the National Institutes of Health, the CDC, and larger national autism groups have generally ignored that area. We are very pleased to tell you that Autism Speaks (the largest autism research group) has announced that they are going to be funding major studies looking into what we feel is real research. They will be committing two to three million dollars to study the GI tract and bacterial differences in people with autism. This new direction for them would never have occurred if it were not for your donations helping us to seed “unconventional” research.
Dr. Steven Walker at Wake Forest University is working to develop a relatively simple blood test that would allow clinicians to make a decision whether or not a person with autism should undergo an ileocolonoscopy. Pediatric gastroenterologist Arthur Krigsman, has performed this procedure many times and found a large percentage of children with autism have GI inflammation and other damage to the GI tract. When this biomedical condition is treated, many patients have a reduction in autistic symptoms. It would be very beneficial to have a blood test to determine if this invasive procedure is needed, based on inflammatory markers in the blood. We will be funding this work shortly.
Last year we funded a follow-on study to further investigate differences in gut bacteria in children with autism. We are pleased to report that this seed funding led to a $300,000 grant from the state of Arizona to researchers at Arizona State University and their collaborators to conduct a research study involving a special treatment to introduce many different species of bacteria into the GI tract to try to improve GI and autism symptoms in children with ASD.
Our 16th annual Tag Days will be August 8th. Please help us raise funds for research and increase autism awareness in the community.
Our top priority has always been research, with education and awareness as keys topics as well. We recently viewed the movie “Who Killed Alex Spourdalakis?” We are suggesting you view this film to see how a family deals with the pressures of autism and the overwhelming evidence of the GI/Brain connection. We are hoping after you watch this documentary, it will be clear why the GI/Brain connection is our sole focus of research. You can go to amazon.com to get a copy, or for a donation of $100 or more to BHARE, request a copy and we will send you one.
The BHARE Foundation