Researchers Develop Blood and Urine Tests for Early Autism Detection

New tests could lead to the early detection of autism in infants.

Researchers have developed a blood test that may be able to detect autism in Children. Scientists from the University of Warwick say the two tests, one blood, one urine are based on a previously discovered connection between blood plasma and autism. The tests could assist in the early detection and treatment of childhood autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

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The tests are built from data that demonstrates a link between mutations in amino acid transporters with ASD. Proteins in blood plasma are damaged by oxidation and/or glycation.

The new tests can detect this damage. To validate their tests, the research team took blood and urine samples from 38 children with ASD, and a group of 31 control children who had not been diagnosed with ASD.

Early tests show evidence of biological markers

Using an artificial intelligence developed algorithm, the scientist could differentiate the two groups.

“With further testing, we may reveal specific plasma and urinary profiles or 'fingerprints' of compounds with damaging modifications,” said Dr. Naila Rabbani, Reader of Experimental Systems Biology at the University of Warwick and the research team’s lead.

“This may help us improve the diagnosis of ASD and point the way to new causes of ASD.” ASD affects one in every 59 births in the US. Scientists aren’t exactly sure what causes autism, although it is suggested that around 30-35% of cases of ASD are linked to genetic variants.

Broad symptoms difficult to diagnose

As with many other disorders, environment conditions, genetics, and other factors are all influencers. Recent research has also suggested the presence of certain gut bacteria may play a role.

The researcher will now work with larger groups of children and to determine if the tests can be successful at diagnosing ASD in very young patients.

The symptoms of ASD ranges from behavioral issues to cognitive impairment. Because the symptoms vary so much, diagnosis and treatment are also hard to formulate.

Autism instances on the rise

If these new tests prove to be a success, it could help kids and parents get an earlier diagnosis which in turn leads to earlier treatment, assisting families to have the best quality of life possible.

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The prevalence of autism in children in the U.S. increased by 119.4 percent from 2000 (1 in 150) to 2010 (1 in 68) making Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability.

It currently cost U.S. citizens $236-262 billion annually in autism services. Autism is treated in a number of ways ranging from behavioral and physical therapies to prescription medicine. Depending on the severity and symptoms of autism treatment may mean that regular employment is difficult.

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