How The Gut Microbiome And The Gut-Brain Axis May Play A Role In Autism Spectrum Disorder

Dr. Shaina Cahill, PhD


Gut Microbiome






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The gut microbiome plays many vital roles within the human body, including protecting against pathogens and modulation of the immune system. Unfortunately, our gut microbiome can become imbalanced, which has been associated with the development of diseases like inflammatory bowel disease, neuropsychiatric-related diseases, metabolic conditions, and antibiotic resistance. The importance of the gut microbiome is evident. Many recent advancements in clinical literature have highlighted the importance of the gut microbiome and its connection to the brain, through the ‘gut-brain axis”. With an understanding of how the gut and brain “communicate,” we see growing evidence as to how both are connected in some way to autism spectrum disorder (ASD). With a better understanding of the relationship between the gut microbiome and ASD, scientific and clinical research has begun to highlight how fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) can serve as a promising treatment approach in terms of improved outcomes related to reported gastrointestinal (GI) and ASD-related symptoms. As clinical interest and support for FMT treatment grows, following successful regulatory approval for recurrent Clostridium difficile infections (rCDI), the importance of strict and comprehensive donor screening procedures becomes increasingly critical to ensure the safety and best outcomes for patients. Our talk will highlight the relationship between the gut microbiome, the gut-brain axis, and ASD, focusing on the growing potential for FMT.

Speaker: Dr. Shaina Cahill, PhD


Dr. Shaina Cahill, PhD

Dr. Shaina Cahill, Ph.D. is a neuroscientist with an interest in alternative medicines that utilize the body’s innate systems. She received her doctoral degree in Neuroscience from the University of British Columbia. Her research studies have focused on brain development and the impact of biological sex, exercise, and aging on the brain. Dr. Cahill is currently the Director of Medical Communications and Affairs at Novel Biome, a role that allows her to embrace her passion for understanding how we can harness our bodies’ natural systems, such as the gut microbiome, to improve health and start to tackle unmet medical needs.