MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

It has recently been reported that a Canadian naturopath claims he can treat autism with fecal transplants at a clinic in Mexico.  The College of Naturopathic Physicians of B.C. has thus barred him stating that it has taken “extraordinary action” against Jason Klop in response to a complaint from a whistle-blowing former employee, who alleges that he manufactured these products in a “household lab” in B.C. without standard procedures or quality control.

While the complaint is under investigation, Klop cannot manufacture, advertise or sell fecal microbiota transplants (FMT). He’ll also be subject to random on-site audits to make sure he’s not violating his conditions.

This is the first public sign of concrete action by the college since CBC News reported on Klop’s business in January 2020 — nearly 20 months ago. Klop has been charging about $15,000 US for autistic children as young as two years old to have FMT treatment at a clinic near Tijuana. The process isn’t approved as a treatment of autism and carries serious risks of infection.

An illustration shows how fecal microbiota transplants are produced. (Vancouver Island Health Authority)

In a promotional video posted in January, Klop says he believes that “precision manipulation of the gut microbiome will solve every single chronic disease.” He also issued an affidavit boasting that he has a new lab that “produces the best and safest FMT materials in the world” and described the former employee who complained as “manifestly unreliable.” Klop argued that “lives are at stake” if he were to stop what he’s doing and described his therapy as a “life-saving measure.”

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Is there any evidence at all for FMT as a treatment of autism? A recent systematic review drew this conclusion: evidence from human studies suggesting beneficial effects of probiotic, prebiotic, and combination thereof, as well as fecal transplants in autism spectrum disorder, is limited and inconclusive.

 

 

5 Responses to Naturopath treats autism with fecal transplants

  • Fecal transplant, though sounding yucky, is a fascinating area of medical research. It has proven very effective, from what I have read, in certain inflammatory bowel conditions.

    Increased intestinal permeability seems to be a feature accompanying autistic spectrum disorders. But to make the theoretical leap that this person made, is altogether too vertiginous an ascent. You wouldn’t, I think, want a non medically qualified person messing around with that kind of technique (or with ANYTHING health-related, really……)

    • I believe that increased intestinal permeability, or something along those lines, was the basis of Andrew Wakefield’s hypothesis that the measles vaccine was responsible for autism. He reported (fraudulently) that he had found bowel inflammation in children with autism, and proposed that this allowed bacteria (or something, anyway) to leak into the bloodstream, somehow cross the blood-brain barrier and affect the development of the brain.

      I am not aware of any genuine research that has found an association between intestinal permeability and autistic spectrum disorder, but if you know of any I would be interested to read it.

      • Hmmm, well…..

        I don’t know of any such research myself. I am not well-read on autism (or on anything, really…) but had read references to “leaky gut”, unconnected to Wakefield. I think the theory was that increased permeability led to some proteins not being properly digested or denatured before entering the bloodstream. I am slightly more familar with “leaky gut” as having some implication in atopic eczema, and since in atopic skin the ‘barrier function’ of the epidermis is somewhat compromised, leading to increased trans=epidermal water loss (TEWL) there is some logic in thinking that internal suraces might also be compromised. It’s a subject that got touched on from time to time in “Exchange” magazine, the journal of the National Eczema Society. But I cannot cite any solid research on the topic.

        Anecdotally, my friends’ grand-daughter was diagnosed as having Aspergers, and from very young, she had digestive problems, and a definite connection was established between eating certain foods, and behaviour incidents. But anecdote don’t cut it, I know…..

  • @DavidB

    But to make the theoretical leap that this person made …

    These are well-known features of quackery:
    – A childishly naive world view, and failure to appreciate the complexity of living organisms and their health,
    – A strong tendency to conflate causes, effects, symptoms and treatments.

    As an analogy, one could say that quacks believe that making metallic jingling noises will unlock doors, simply because unlocking a door is usually associated with the sound of rattling keys.
    They completely skip over the actual mechanisms involved, both mechanical (the intricacies of the lock and key), and human (the actions of selecting the correct key, inserting it into the lock, and turning it in the right direction). And oh, every unlocked door that they happen to come across is of course ‘evidence’ that they are right …

    A more practical example of this is seen in ‘energy medicine’, where quacks not only believe that they can distinguish some sort of elusive, undefined ‘energy’, and that this energy somehow tells then something about the state of health of a person, but that they can actually restore a person’s health by ‘manipulating’ said energy.
    In terms of real medicine, this would mean that e.g. an MRI scanner not only shows what is wrong with someone, but that tweaking the MRI machine’s electromagnetic fields (or even just the images it produces) can somehow correct the medical issue.

    • Sorry I don’t have time for a proper reply. I’m off out to buy an MRI Scanner, rent an office and have a plate made up! It’s a blinding epiphany!

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