It is estimated that one in 100 children worldwide has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Children with ASD frequently suffer from gut dysbiosis and gastrointestinal issues, findings which possibly play a role in the pathogenesis and/or severity of their condition. Physical activity may have a positive effect on the composition of the intestinal microbiota of healthy adults. However, the effect of exercise both on the gastrointestinal problems and intestinal microbiota (and thus possibly on ASD) itself in affected children is unknown. In terms of understanding the physiopathology and manifestations of ASD, analysis of the gut–brain axis holds some promise. Here, we discuss the physiopathology of ASD in terms of genetics and microbiota composition, and how physical activity may be a promising non-pharmaceutical approach to improve ASD-related symptoms.
- autism spectrum disorder
- intestinal microbiota
- physical activity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health