Autism – ADHD: What role do microbiota and antibiotics play in their appearance

The role of the gut appears significant in the emergence of neurodevelopmental disorders in children, according to recent study data published in Cell. Specifically, disrupted gut flora in the early years of life is linked to diagnoses such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) later in life, as revealed by the study led by researchers from the University of Florida and Linköping University.

This study is the first prospective study examining the composition of gut flora and a wide range of other factors in infants in relation to children’s neurological system development. Researchers identified many biological markers that appear to be related to future neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, communication disorder, and intellectual disability.

“The remarkable aspect of the work is that these biomarkers were found at birth in umbilical cord blood or in the child’s feces at the age of one, over a decade before the diagnosis,” said Dr. Eric W Triplett, professor in the Department of Microbiology and Cell Science at the University of Florida in the United States, one of the study’s researchers.

The role of antibiotics

Autism: Turning the focus to parents with spectrum children – A psychologist explains

For the study, more than 16,000 children born between 1997 and 1999 were followed from birth to 20 years of age. Of these, 1,197 children, accounting for 7.3%, were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, communication disorder, or intellectual disability.

A large number of lifestyle and environmental factors were identified through repeated surveys conducted during the children’s upbringing. For some of the children, researchers analyzed substances in umbilical cord blood and bacteria in their feces at just one year of age.

“We found in the study that there are clear differences in gut flora as early as the first year of life between those who develop ASD or ADHD and those who do not. We found correlations with some factors affecting gut bacteria, such as antibiotic treatment in the child’s first year, which is associated with an increased risk of these diseases,” explained Dr. Ludvigsson, senior professor at the Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences at Linköping University, who led the study together with Dr. Triplett.

Children who had recurrent ear infections in their first year of life were at an increased risk of being diagnosed with a developmental neurological disorder later in life. It may not be the infection itself that is the culprit, but researchers speculate that there is a correlation with antibiotic treatment. As they found, the presence of Citrobacter bacteria or absence of Coprococcus bacteria increased the risk of future diagnosis.

A possible explanation is that antibiotic treatment may disrupt the composition of the gut flora in a way that contributes to neurodevelopmental disorders. This risk may increase the likelihood of diseases associated with the immune system, such as type 1 diabetes and pediatric rheumatism, as shown in previous studies.

Other environmental factors

The present study also confirms that the risk of developmental neurological diagnosis in children increases if parents smoke. Conversely, breastfeeding has a protective effect, according to the study. Specifically, from umbilical cord blood samples for the detection of various substances from metabolism, such as fatty acids and amino acids, it was found that children who were later diagnosed had low levels of several important fatty substances in the blood. One of these, linolenic acid, necessary for the formation of omega-3 fatty acids and with positive effects on the brain.

Although the research is in its early stages and involves only a portion of children, and more studies are needed, the discovery that many biomarkers for future neurodevelopmental disorders can be observed at a young age opens up the possibility of implementing long-term preventive measures.

Promoting Accessibility: The Collaboration Between Ablebook and Buyway365 for Cashback Service through AbleCard

We are pleased to announce a significant collaboration we have developed with Buyway365 and introduce a new service that will be available to you, our customers, in our Ablebook app.

The partnership between Ablebook and Buyway365 concerns the Cashback service through the AbleCard platform. Specifically, Ablebook provides a service within the Ablebook app called AbleCard. AbleCard is a membership card exclusively for people with disabilities (PWDs), where businesses featured in the application offer additional privileges to these individuals. Buyway365 is a cashback app, an innovative platform where members benefit from discounts in the form of cashback to the credit/debit card they used for their purchases from participating businesses.

Thus, the cashback service provided by Buyway365 will be integrated with the AbleCard service from Ablebook, with a significant difference. Users with disabilities (PWDs) of the Ablebook application will enroll in the AbleCard service from Buyway365. User information will be verified to confirm that they are indeed PWDs, and they will have immediate access to the above service. The difference is that PWD users of the above service will receive additional discounts (a higher percentage) from businesses participating in the AbleCard program of Buyway365 compared to what is provided in the Buyway365 application.

Activation Steps for AbleCard:

Step 1: Download the Ablebook application.

Step 2: Register for AbleCard and upload your European Disability Card or Blue Badge Parking Card for eligibility verification.

Step 3: After receiving a confirmation email as an approved member of AbleCard, download the BuyWay365 application.

Step 4: Use the special promo code: ABLE – Activate your card and get additional cashback.

The purpose of creating this feature is to improve accessibility and the well-being of people with disabilities (PWDs) in Cyprus. The collaboration between Ablebook and Buyway365 in the Cashback service through the AbleCard platform aims to offer additional privileges and discounts to PWD users of the Ablebook app. The result is the promotion of accessibility, the facilitation of the daily lives of PWDs, and the enhancement of their social inclusion.

Increase of 115% in kidney patients undergoing dialysis, says the Nephrology Society

“Increase of 115% in kidney patients undergoing dialysis,” says the Nephrological Society – On the occasion of the second Thursday of March, which has been established globally as World Kidney Day.

An increase of 115% in the number of our fellow citizens undergoing hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis is observed in our country during this period, according to the Nephrological Society of Cyprus.

In a statement issued on the occasion of the second Thursday of March, which is globally established as World Kidney Day, the Nephrological Society reports that kidney health problems are the 10th leading cause of mortality worldwide, while 1 in 10 people worldwide is affected by chronic kidney disease (CKD), and it is estimated that this number will continue to increase over time.

It is noted that even if only a small percentage of these individuals will require support through methods such as dialysis – such as hemodialysis – or kidney transplantation, in our country, these individuals amount to over 200 per year, a rate of inclusion that remains among the two highest in Europe over the past 10 years.

These rates are almost double the average for Europe and other Mediterranean countries, so “we observe an increase of 115% in the number of our fellow citizens undergoing hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis in our country during this period. This continuous and prolonged increase in patients with serious kidney health problems is accompanied by a significant economic burden on the healthcare system, which, combined with inadequate planning and timely and proper management of CKD in its initial stages, has led to many shortages in specialized medical and nursing staff, areas that also face shortages globally.”

The message of this year’s World Kidney Day, “Kidney Health for Everyone Everywhere,” becomes even more important, it is noted. With the implementation of the General Healthcare System (GHS), it is added, access to healthcare services, both personal and specialist doctors, has become much easier for most residents of our island.

As stated, with more frequent and regular health checks, our primary goal of combating and timely addressing CKD, as well as other significant diseases that feed it – such as Diabetes Mellitus and Arterial Hypertension – becomes more feasible.

“A simple blood analysis to assess kidney function and glucose, a general urine examination to check for the presence of leukocytes (or albumin) or other signs of kidney damage, as well as blood pressure monitoring are often sufficient for the timely diagnosis and treatment of these diseases. As Diabetes Mellitus and Arterial Hypertension are contributory factors to the progression of CKD and affect more than 50% of the patients who are undergoing extrarenal dialysis therapies, it is also important to combat obesity and excessive salt consumption,” it is added.

In combination with what has already been implemented, the Nephrological Society of Cyprus (NSC) promotes and closely collaborates with the Health Insurance Organization (HIO) to adapt to Cypriot data and implement the guidance of the British National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) for the diagnosis and management of CKD.

This process, it is noted, is now at an advanced stage, and we have already committed as a scientific body to contribute to the training and education of healthcare professionals for their correct use and implementation. We also promote the integration of new drugs into the GHS, whose effectiveness in treating CKD is supported by numerous serious and large clinical studies. The evaluation process of these drugs, it is reported, by the HIO and the Drug Advisory Committee has already begun.

Finally, for those patients reaching the final stage of CKD, it is noted that kidney transplantation offers the best clinical outcomes as well as better survival and quality of life.

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“The Architecture of Disability: A Discussion with Architect David Gissen”

Reimagining a city from the perspective of disability is much more than creating ramps on sidewalks,” says architect David Gissen. As an architect with years of disability experience, he speaks about the need to reconsider the values that shape our cities and to broaden our view beyond the concept of accessibility to include notions related to the intersections of disability critique in architecture with environmentalism and postcolonial perspectives on the city.

Interview with Bella Okuya

Translation: Editorial team of

David Gissen is a Professor of Architecture and Urban History at the Parsons School of Design at The New School. His new book, “The Architecture of Disability: Buildings, Cities, and Landscapes Beyond Accessibility,” presents a new way of thinking about the history of architecture and architectural theory, placing disability at the center and changing the way we see the everyday built environment.

David Gissen

Q: Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind this book

A: I’ve spent my entire career in the world of architecture as a person with a disability. I am a survivor of pediatric bone cancer, underwent treatment here in New York in the 1980s. I am also an amputee.

I went to undergraduate architecture school as a person with a disability, partially using a wheelchair and crutches at the time. I went to college, did a Ph.D., was a curator, a professional, a practicing architect, and then returned to school to become an academic.

As someone with a long career in the world of architecture, I believe that ideas about debility, disability, and physical weakness are much more complex than simply making buildings more accessible.

The way we think about architectural history, architectural ideas about nature and the environment, the way architects create and design through architectural form, and the way cities urbanize and construct buildings are all intertwined with ideas about ability, debility, and disability.

I wanted to develop what I would call a disability architecture theory rather than just focusing on making architecture more practical for people with disabilities.

The genre of writing known as architectural theory interprets architectural history, the aesthetics of construction, and concepts about nature and the environment. My goal was to provide a critique from the perspective of disability on all these issues, especially on the way I learned, was encouraged to practice, and was encouraged to teach these ideas. Writing this book allowed me to express thoughts I had long held in one volume.

Q: Could you speak more about a key concept in the book, the “urbanization of impairment,” and how it relates to this theory?

A: Typically, contemporary critiques of cities for disability focus on ensuring greater access for people with disabilities to movement within urban spaces, such as sidewalks, roads, and public spaces. All of these, of course, are extremely important.

However, in my chapter “The Urbanization of Impairment,” I question whether the critique from the perspective of disability in the contemporary city should simply target access to the city as it is, or if it should reconsider some of the values embedded in urban spaces.

Jon Tyson/Unsplash

For example, many cities like New York and London manage water based on the European perception of hydrological management. The recent torrential rains in New York highlighted the limitations of our Western model of paved roads with curbs. There are various environmental critiques of roads and sidewalks that support alternative approaches to urban wastewater management.

There is an opportunity for people with disabilities to form alliances with environmentalists and postcolonial urban theorists who are redefining the streets. Reimagining traffic in urban spaces will likely reduce barriers experienced by people with disabilities and introduce a more nuanced approach to how cities are envisioned.

Disability activism often overlooks how navigating the city is governed by predetermined ideas about property rights and trespassing laws.

For example, when I walk along Long Street in New York – which is 950 feet long – and encounter a passage between two apartment buildings or buildings that would make my journey more accessible, I often see signs that say “no trespassing,” which hinder my ability to pass through.

This forces me to take a longer route around the block. It’s a simple example, but it underscores that while many disabled writers focus on sidewalks that determine our movement within cities – which is certainly true to some extent – it is primarily property rights, easements, and trespass laws that dictate urban navigation and determine the placement of sidewalks.

The critique of the city from the perspective of disability that I am writing about extends beyond the physical infrastructure and delves into the values ​​that are rooted in urban space. It questions ideas about property, urban mobility, hydrology, and environmentalism.

From my perspective, this entails the potential for an extensive political dialogue that transcends the scope of accessibility.

Josh Appel/Unsplash

Q: After reading your ideas about the “natural” – or what we consider “natural” – I saw my environment in a different way. What does it mean when you say that “nature is produced”?

A: I began my architectural career with a strong interest in architectural environmentalism, also known as the green movement in architecture, environmental movement in architecture, or sustainable architecture.

Over time, I became increasingly disillusioned with this movement. About two decades later, I realized that my disillusionment was connected to what I would describe as a form of “soft eugenics” – or an overemphasis on harnessing capability that I encountered in meetings, where architects proposed changing building materials to “revitalize” people. Some even proposed designing office buildings to enhance the health of workers and reduce sick days, ensuring the return on investment through the use of healthier materials.

I was troubled by the evaluation of elements of nature solely based on their capabilities, especially the concept of biocapacity. For example, trees were considered “good” because they absorb carbon and release oxygen, and certain species of shellfish were valued for their ability to clean up urban river waters. As someone who often feels incapable, I wondered who advocates for the “weak” aspects of nature.

Then I read “Concrete and Clay” by geographer Matthew Gandy. It focused on how cities produce nature both as a physical entity – such as Central Park, a fully designed landscape – and as an idea, assessing specific aspects of nature according to the demands of an industrial capitalist society.

The book was unlike anything else the environmental movement in architecture was concerned with. I applied to become Gandy’s doctoral student and spent six to seven years collaborating with him.

The architecture of disability reexamines much of this rationale, but from the perspective of a disability critique. I begin the book, Architecture of Disability, with a discussion of the national parks in the United States, particularly Yosemite. National parks like Yosemite are constructed spaces, designed to offer specific aesthetic qualities and experiences to visitors.

The earlier inhabitants, the Native Americans – who lived there for thousands of years – inhabited a very different landscape, which would resemble more of an agricultural landscape rather than the idea of wilderness that has been incorporated into it in the last 100 to 150 years.

The last twenty to thirty years have seen significant activism for increasing accessibility in these national parks. One of the questions I raise is whether advocating for increased accessibility in national parks is the right path for disability leadership in the United States.

Why don’t these leaders consider forming alliances with those who are reimagining the history of these spaces, seeking ways to weave together the land, landscapes, and resources with concepts of reconciliation and other forms of politics?


Excerpt from the article published in Public Seminar.

David Gissen is a Professor of Architecture and Urban History at the Parsons School of Design at The New School.

Bella Okuya is a candidate for an MFA in Photography at the Parsons School of Design.

Vision: Where is the suspected location on the body for eye conditions that lead to blindness

Could the health of the eyes be related to the functioning of the intestine? A recent study reveals a unique correlation and the role played by the gut microbiota

Recent findings create hope that antibiotics could potentially treat certain genetic diseases that can lead to blindness.

For genetic eye conditions that lead to blindness, according to a recent study published in Cell, bacteria that escape from the intestine and “travel” to the retina may also be implicated. Until recently, specialists estimated that the eyes are usually protected by a layer of tissue that bacteria cannot penetrate. Therefore, these results are “unexpected” according to Dr. Martin Kriegel, a microbiome researcher at the University of Münster in Germany, who was not involved in the study. “This is a major shift in the paradigm we knew until now,” he adds.

Inherited diseases of the retina, such as retinitis pigmentosa, affect about 5.5 million people worldwide. Mutations in the Crumbs homolog 1 (CRB1) gene are the primary cause of these diseases, some of which lead to blindness. Previous studies have shown that bacteria are not as rare in the eyes as ophthalmologists previously believed, leading the authors of the study to wonder if bacteria cause diseases of the retina, says co-author Dr. Richard Lee, an ophthalmologist then at University College London.

As Dr. Lee and his colleagues found, mutations in CRB1 weaken the bonds between the cells lining the intestine, in addition to the role they have long observed in weakening the protective barrier around the eye. This conclusion prompted the study’s co-author, Dr. Lai Wei, an ophthalmologist at Guangzhou Medical University in China, to create mice with CRB1 mutations with reduced levels of intestinal bacteria. These mice did not show signs of distortion of the cellular layers in the retina, unlike those with typical gut flora.

Near miss call to disabled due to lack of sidewalk – “I could have been killed”

Independence and accessibility. That’s what Damien Handlan, a resident of DeSoto, Missouri, is asking for. After a bone infection in 2015 led to the amputation of his leg, he became confined to a wheelchair.

He never felt disabled himself. Only when he was forced to go onto the road because there was no sidewalk, and even received a warning from a local police officer.

“He stopped in front of me, essentially blocking my path. He got out of the car and came to tell me that I couldn’t be on the road. I told him there was no sidewalk,” says Damien Handlan.

The warning says he wasn’t moving with traffic, but he argues it would have been more dangerous to cross the road. “I could have been killed. You say you care about my safety and life. Then do something about it,” adds Damien, saying, “I don’t need you to pay for the rest of my life. I just want a sidewalk.”

Twin: New exoskeleton gives mobility to people with disabilities

A new robotic exoskeleton could allow individuals who have lost the ability to move their legs to stand up and even walk again. It can also help them walk independently, guiding their movements and keeping them upright as they participate in rehabilitation therapy.

Named Twin, the exoskeleton designed in Italy for the lower body was presented at the Museum of Science and Technology in Milan. It is still in the prototype stage and is being developed by scientists from the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (Italian Institute of Technology) and the Istituto Nazionale Assicurazione Infortuni sul Lavoro (National Institute for Insurance against Accidents at Work).

Designed for use by patients with reduced or absent mobility in the lower body, it moves their legs through motors located at the knee and hip joints. These motors are powered by an integrated battery, which is said to last for about four hours of use per one hour of charging. The Twin can be used in three different operating modes. In Walk mode, intended for individuals who cannot use their legs at all, the exoskeleton moves the user’s legs on their behalf and assists them in sitting and standing up. The person still needs to use crutches for balance, as with other assistive exoskeletons.

Retrain mode is for patients who still have some mobility in their lower limbs. It allows them to walk on their own to the extent they can, but provides adjustable assistance when needed. Throughout the process, the exoskeleton guides them towards a predetermined optimal trajectory of leg movement.

Finally, there is TwinCare mode, intended for individuals who have full use of one leg but not the other. In this case, the exoskeleton enhances the movement of the affected leg to match that of the healthy leg. In all three modes, a physiotherapist or the user themselves can adjust walking parameters, such as step length/type and walking speed, using a wirelessly connected Android tablet.

According to its designers, two things that make Twin stand out from similar exoskeletons are the fact that it is made from lightweight materials – aluminum alloy instead of steel, for example – and that it features an articulated design allowing for the removal of components for transport or upgrade.

The 4 early signs – sos that we suffer from vertigo and we don’t know it.

It can occur at any age. Audiologists share the red “lines” that urgently signal that we should check our ears as soon as possible

While we often believe that hearing loss is something that only happens to much older people, this is not actually true.

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) in the United States, 1 in 8 people aged 12 and older has hearing loss in both ears, and approximately 28.8 million adults in the US could benefit from hearing aids. While difficulty in hearing may be the most obvious sign that we need to check our ears, it is not the only one.

We asked audiologists to share the main signs that it’s time to check our hearing. Here’s what they had to say:

Number 1: We struggle to follow conversations.

If we constantly find ourselves saying “what?” during conversations, it’s probably time to check our ears.

“Terry Zwolan, director of Audiology Access & Standard of Care for Cochlear Americas, says, ‘Making an effort to listen when we talk to others or to continue a conversation is very important. This may include struggling to hear when there is background noise and regularly asking people to repeat what they have said or often mishearing.'”

Number 2: We need to increase the volume of the sound on the television.

Whether others regularly tell us to turn down the volume of the television or we are surprised by the number we see on the volume control, this can be a sign that it’s time to check our hearing.

“We may find ourselves turning up the volume on the television or radio to a level louder than others prefer, or feel that people are mumbling (because of it),” he says.

Number 3: Our ears are ringing.

While ringing in the ears (or tinnitus) isn’t always a sign of hearing loss, it certainly can be at times. “Some people may experience persistent ‘ringing,’ buzzing, pain, or pressure in one or both ears,” says Zvolan. “Also, difficulties hearing from one ear may arise, it may be challenging to distinguish where sounds are coming from, or our own voice may sound different.”

Katie Campbell, an audiologist and Senior Director of Audiology at HearingLife Canada, emphasizes that experiencing symptoms like ringing in the ears is a good reason to consider getting a hearing test. “Ringing in the ears, or tinnitus, is usually associated with situations of hearing loss,” she states. “If it persists for an extended period, it’s a good idea to arrange for a hearing test.”

Number 4: We may struggle to hear the sounds of nature.

If we suddenly find it difficult to hear the sounds of nature, such as birds chirping or rainfall, this could be a red flag, according to Zvolan.

“Lazy eye” may be responsible for metabolic syndrome in adult life, study finds

A pediatric ophthalmic condition may jeopardize health in adult life, according to a recent study.

Amblyopia, also known as “lazy eye,” manifests during childhood, and its impact could extend into adulthood, causing various dysfunctions. Specifically, children who experience this condition are more likely to develop hypertension, obesity, and metabolic syndrome in adulthood, as well as an increased risk of heart attack, according to a recent study by researchers at University College London.

However, in their publication in eClinicalMedicine, the authors emphasize that although they identified an association, their research does not demonstrate a causal relationship between amblyopia and adverse health outcomes in adulthood.

Compulsory sterilization in Europe

People with disabilities are more vulnerable to abusive behavior from their surroundings and even from their own families. This happens due to their difference. And because some countries do not consider these individuals reproductive due to their illness. Therefore, they are not considered functional to contribute to a job. The violence they experience is increasing, especially in women with disabilities. One form of violence they experience is compulsory sterilization.

According to the European Disability Forum (EDF), governments in thirteen member states of the European Union implement compulsory sterilization on women with disabilities. This is another form of violence experienced by these women. Among these thirteen member states where compulsory sterilization of people with disabilities is legal are Portugal, Finland, Bulgaria, Croatia, Malta, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, and Slovakia.

The justifications for implementing this practice vary. For example, in 2015, a court in Croatia allowed compulsory sterilization. They sterilized a woman with psychosocial disabilities, arguing that her frequent pregnancies endangered her life. In reality, compulsory sterilization is what harms the health of these women. However, in Spain, compulsory sterilization has not stopped, especially for women with intellectual or psychosocial disorders.

Legislative framework in Greece

Regarding Greece, according to the European Disability Forum, there is no clear data on the percentage of women who have been forced to undergo sterilization. However, there are some recorded cases from 2022. In these records, three women with intellectual disabilities underwent compulsory sterilization with the consent of their guardians. There is also a recent complaint from the Cypriot Federation of Organizations of Disabled People. Specifically, a woman with intellectual disabilities was sterilized after giving birth to prevent her from giving birth again in the future

This issue has been brought to the attention of the Greek Parliament. Because it is a very delicate issue, a legislative framework must be established. This framework will cover the needs and rights of people with disabilities. The President of the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights explained that special attention must be paid to the issue and the legislative framework surrounding it. Because there is involvement of others, as in some member states of the European Union where people with disabilities need approval for sterilization from their guardians.

European Union legislators are trying to put a stop to compulsory sterilization. The problem that arises is an ethical issue. To what extent should the guardians of people with disabilities determine whether they should be sterilized or not.


Chatziapostolou, Panagiotis. (2023). “Middle Ages” for People with Disabilities: The Law that Renders Them Nonexistent and How It Will Change. Retrieved from

Unknown author. (2023). EDF: Europe Continues Compulsory Sterilization of Women with Disabilities. Retrieved from

Mytaras, Evangelos. (2022). Policies for Women with Disabilities at European and National Level. Retrieved from

Parthenidis, Kyriakos. (2018). Sterilization Program for Remuneration and Ethical Extensions. Retrieved from