2023-05-08T14:42:35 n9075

Prebiotic supplement use, the gut microbiome and behaviour change in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)

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This dataset underpins Jacqui Palmer's PhD thesis, Effects of a prebiotic supplement on child behaviour and parental quality of life in autism spectrum disorder. The pilot double-blind randomised controlled trial investigated whether using prebiotics to modify the gut bacteria of children with autism spectrum disorder could increase parental quality of life (QoL) by improving child stress, meal-time behaviour, sleep and gastrointestinal symptoms. 

Methods: Children aged 4-10 years with ASD participated in a 6-week double-blind pilot RCT and randomised to take 2.4g of prebiotic prebiotic-galactooligosaccharides (GOS) or placebo daily (N=38). Standardised nutrition counselling was provided to both groups. Changes in gut bacteria, basal cortisol and behaviours of interest were measured. Gut bacteria were measured via stool samples using 16SrRNA sequencing, cortisol via saliva (using ELISA), with behaviour, GI symptoms and QoL assessed via parent-completed questionnaires at baseline and follow-up. 

The cleaned and de-identified data present two time points: baseline and six weeks post baseline for intervention and control groups.

Data variables include: 

  • Participant demographics: child sex, age at data collection, ethnicity, height, weight, mode of delivery, gestational age, breastfeeding status, duration of breastfeeding, age at introduction to solids, co-existing medical conditions, level of ASD, medications, antibiotic use, parent age, gender, relationship to child, other child with ASD, single parent status, employment, education level, family income, NDIS funding, other allowance
  • Eating behaviour: Total score on the Brief Autism Mealtime Behaviour Index (BAMBI)
  • Social behaviour: T-scores on the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS-2)
  • GI symptoms: 6-Gastrointestinal Severity Index (6-GSI) – scores for each symptom and total severity score; 7-day Bristol Stool Form Scale (BSFS): Stool output - mean weekly frequency and mean daily stool type. Percentage of normal stools per week 
  • Quality of Life, Quality of Life Autism (QoLA), scores for part A, part B, and total score
  • Sleep: average sleep onset latency, total sleep duration, and number of night wakings over seven days
  • Cortisol: Cortisol concentration and cortisol awakening response
  • Microbiome: Abundance of bifidobacteria, Clostridium and Lactobacillus, alpha diversity, beta diversity 
  • Dietary intake: Mean intake over three days of energy, protein, total fat, saturated fat, carbohydrate, sugars, dietary fibre, b vitamins, sodium, potassium, iron, zinc; serves of grains, fruit, vegetables, meat/alternatives, dairy, oils, solid fat

Access rights

Due to the sensitive and confidential nature of this data, the owner of this data collection reserves the right to provide access to the data by negotiation. Access may be requested using the contact details on this record.

Geographical area of data collection

153.317870,-26.996845 152.668523,-26.996845 152.668523,-27.767441 153.317870,-27.767441 153.317870,-26.996845


Palmer, Jacqueline K. (2022) Effects of a prebiotic supplement on child behaviour and parental quality of life in autism spectrum disorder. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology. https://eprints.qut.edu.au/228686/

Research areas

Gut bacteria
Mealtime behaviours
Parental quality of life (QoL)
Nutrition and dietetics
Gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms
Autistic spectrum disorders

Cite this collection

Palmer, Jacqui; van der Pols, Jolieke; Sullivan, Karen; Staudacher, Heidi; Byrne, Rebecca; (2023): Prebiotic supplement use, the gut microbiome and behaviour change in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Queensland University of Technology. (Dataset) https://doi.org/10.25912/RDF_1683174974223

Data file types

SPSS (.spss) and Excel (.xlsx)


Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 (CC-BY-NC-SA)


© Jacqui Palmer, 2023

Dates of data collection

From 2019-05-01 to 2020-05-30


Has association with
Jolieke van der Pols  (Researcher)
Karen Sullivan  (Researcher)
Has chief investigator
Rebecca Byrne  (Researcher)


Name: Dr Rebecca Byrne
Phone: 07 3138 8202


Date record created:
Date record modified:
Record status:
Published - Open Access