Infections caused by anaerobic bacteria are common, and may be serious and life-threatening. Anaerobes predominant in the bacterial flora of normal human skin and mucous membranes, and are a common cause of bacterial infections of endogenous origin. Infections due to anaerobes can evolve all body systems and sites. The predominate ones include: abdominal, pelvic, respiratory, and skin and soft tissues infections. Because of their fastidious nature, they are difficult to isolate and are often overlooked. Failure to direct therapy against these organisms often leads to clinical failures. Their isolation requires appropriate methods of collection, transportation and cultivation of specimens. Treatment of anaerobic bacterial infection is complicated by the slow growth of these organisms, which makes diagnosis in the laboratory only possible after several days, by their often polymicrobial nature and by the growing resistance of anaerobic bacteria to antimicrobial agents.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Autism and gastrointestinal bacteria connection

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are neurodevelopmental disorders,  characterized by difficulties in social interactions, verbal and non-verbal communication, and stereotypic or repetitive behaviors.  Gastrointestinal (GI) distress is common in children with ASD and include,  abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea and constipation. The high frequencies of these GI symptoms could be due to abnormal GI bacterial flora in individuals with ASD. The GI bacterial flora  are important for nutrition and metabolic processes and growing evidence suggest that they play a role in brain development, behavior, and gene expression via neural, endocrine, and immune pathways. Emerging research on the gut-microbiome-brain connection in both mice and humans has shed new light on the pathogenesis of various neurological diseases including ASD.

A total of 15 cross-sectional studies, with a combined sample of 562 individuals reported significant differences in the prevalence of GI bacteria between ASD children and controls, in some bacteria in the Firmicutes  (including Clostridium spp. ), Bacteroidetes  and Proteobacteria phyla. The level of the probiotic Bifidobacterium  spp. was lower in children with ASD than in controls. Some studies found an association between the severity of GI symptoms and the severity of autism.

Future research should explore whether administration of probiotic bacteria, and or antimicrobials could restore normal gut microbiota, reduce inflammation, restore epithelial barrier function, and potentially ameliorate behavioral symptoms associated with some children with ASD.

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