TABLE 4

Key Research Objectives for an Integrated Approach to Addressing Knowledge Gaps

1. Determine the pathology of gastrointestinal conditions in ASDs through integrated studies of the gut microbiome, metabolism, inflammation, immunity, and mucosal integrity. The outcome measures would include the histochemical and immunologic abnormalities seen in subsets of ASD children, as well as the changes in gut microbial composition observed in ASDs.
2. Increase the use of animal models to better understand the underlying pathology. Studies manipulating the microbiome in animal models may help promote better understanding of these conditions.
3. Identify biomarkers for assessing the status of these conditions and to guide identification and treatment.
4. Identify biomarkers of nutritional status that will not only guide monitoring of response to treatment but help identify those requiring intervention.
5. Identify behavioral phenotypes related to poor nutritional status to better identify and treat this population.
6. Develop evidence-based clinical algorithms to help guide clinicians in the evaluation and treatment of gastrointestinal problems in individuals with ASDs.