Gut and Psychology Syndrome

The Gut and Psychology Syndrome, shortened to GAPS, is the invention of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. She claims that a wide variety of health problems can be traced to a single cause: an imbalance of gut microbes. Examples of these health problems are autism, ADD, OCD, schizophrenia, epilepsy, depression, and numerous other ailments that are all digestive disorders. Most of these supposed problems are thus psychological in nature.

Not surprisingly, all the problems she mentions are also in the domain of quackery. She cites Hippocrates (circa 460 – circa 370 BC) who that said all diseases begin in the gut. As if we never progressed from that insight, she claims that the current epidemic of autism is but an epidemic of abnormal gut flora (and not from better screening, from better understanding or from changes in criteria). She also says autistic children were born perfectly normal (not true), but after birth they developed abnormal gut flora which in turn created the supposed toxicity.
Of course, vaccines are to blame too. Natasha Campbell-McBride thinks that babies with abnormal gut flora are not fit to be vaccinated like healthy people. Their immune systems cannot respond well enough to the vaccine. And the vaccines themselves are harmful too. She claims they were developed to make profits for Big Pharma rather than to benefit children. I shall end here, because to the informed reader the picture should be clear: keep away from the deluded fantasies of Natasha Campbell-McBride.

In reality, babies get their gut microbes from their mother as they pass through the birth canal, microbes that originated in the bowels of both parents. If it's good enough for the parents, then it's good enough for their offspring. Yes, scientist do increasingly find signals that there's some sort of correlation between the gut bacteria and its effects on the brain[1]. But cause and effect are not clear, which means that the psychological problems may result in disorderly gut bacteria.

Yet, there are so many deluded people that want to believe in the Gut and Psychology Syndrome, simply because they need to. Accepting that autism or related disorders are mostly genetic in nature, may mean that it were your own genes that caused the problem[2]. That's a hard one to swallow.

[1] Petra et al: Gut-Microbiota-Brain Axis and Its Effect on Neuropsychiatric Disorders With Suspected Immune Dysregulation in Clinical Therapeutics - 2015
[2] Colvert et al: Heritability of Autism Spectrum Disorder in a UK Population-Based Twin Sample in JAMA Psychology – 2015

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