As more and more people are diagnosed with being on the Autism spectrum, there is an equally large number of experts claiming that they’ve found the cause, and therefore the cure for the disorder. A new study is out that thinks it might have finally pinned down the actual cause of autism. No, the answer has nothing to do with vaccines, but it might have everything to do with the bacteria that live in your stomach.

A new study from The Journal of Immunology is showing that your gut biome sets the stage for the neurodevelopmental condition autism. So far this evidence has only been tested in mice, but it has researchers extremely optimistic. Also, just to specify, it isn’t the gut biome of the person with Autism that matters here. It’s all about the bacteria living in their mom’s gut during pregnancy.

John Lukens, lead researcher and PhD student from the University of Virginia School of Medicine, said this in a statement.

“The microbiome can shape the developing brain in multiple ways. The microbiome is really important to the calibration of how the offspring’s immune system is going to respond to an infection or injury or stress.”

the molecule in question is called interleukin-17a (or IL-17a) and it is naturally produced by the immune system. Autism isn’t the first condition that seems to track back to this little bugger. Other known problems include rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and psoriasis. To test their hypothesis , the scientists blocked the molecule in one group of mice and compared them to another group who all tested positive for the presence of the molecule.

The offspring of the first group showed completely normal neurological development, while those of the group who tested positive developed an autism-like neurodevelopmental condition, which affected social and repetitive behaviors.

These studies are still in their preliminary stages, but they could be the key to helping prevent children in the future from developing Autism or other conditions on the autistic spectrum.

Source: IFL Science