Improvements in Gut Microbiome Composition and Clinical Symptoms Following Familial Fecal Microbiota Transplantation in a Nineteen-Year-Old Adolescent With Severe Autism

Sabine Hazan, Jonathan Haroon, Sheldon Jordan, Stephen J. Walker


This case report describes a novel therapy for patients with severe autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that is worth further investigation. A 19-year-old male adolescent with ASD, who was not responding to standard treatment received fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) using donor material from his typically developing female sibling. The patients ASD symptoms were assessed by assessors who were blind to the patients past ASD symptomatology. Assessors used the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS), an observation-based rating scale to assess developmental delay in children with autism (range of CARS scores is 15 - 60; a score > 28 is indicative of autism; higher score is positively correlated with degree of severity), at baseline and again at six timepoints post-FMT. The patient experienced marked improvements in microbiome diversity and composition over the year and a half period that followed the FMT procedure. Additionally, the patient who was previously nonverbal said his first two words and experienced a reduction in aggression 1-month post-FMT. To the authors knowledge, this is the first report to demonstrate the use of familial FMT in an adolescent patient with ASD. Given that ASD symptom improvements post-FMT tend to occur in younger patients, the authors hypothesize that the use of a familial donor may be an important factor that contributed to the improved outcomes experienced by this older child.

J Med Cases. 2024;15(4-5):82-91


Autism spectrum disorder; Fecal microbiota transplantation; Gastrointestinal microbiome; Gut dysbiosis; Bifidobacterium; Proteobacteria; Actinobacteria; Lactobacillus animalis

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