A couple, both working as professors at prestigious U.S. universities, have found that certain bacteria in the mother’s digestive tract can lead to having an autistic child. They have also found the exact brain location linked to autistic behaviors. This information may be used to find a cure for autism, or rather, a preventive measure.

Gut - Brain connection

Science journal ‘Nature’ published the couple’s two research studies on September 14, 2017. The couple are Harvard Medical School’s professor Huh Jun-ryeol, and MIT’s professor Gloria Choi.

The studies vividly explain the detailed process of a pregnant mouse, which is infected by a virus, having offspring that shows autistic behaviors.

The researchers found out that certain bacteria in the mother’s digestive tract can develop immune cells that directly influence the baby’s brain cells development. When the researchers removed the bacteria with antibiotics, the mouse had a normal baby mouse.

Professors Huh and Choi said that there is a synergy effect when a scientist couple work together on a research.

Professor Huh said, “when we were doing the research together in two different labs, we sent support for each other instead of measuring whose work is better. It was very helpful for our research success.”

He continued, “our major fields of study are different as they are each Immunology and Neurobiology, and it actually helps us researching on Neuroimmunology.”