One in in 68 children have been identified with some form of ASD, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2014. These include speech disturbances, repetitive and/or compulsive behaviour, hyperactivity, anxiety, and difficulty to adapt to new environments, some with or without cognitive impairment.
Scientists in the United Kingdom have developed a blood and urine test that can detect autism in children.
Dr Naila Rabbani, from the University of Warwick told the BBC the tests could ultimately be used by doctors to diagnose autism earlier in childhood by detecting these markers.
"With further testing we may reveal specific plasma and urinary profiles or "fingerprints" of compounds with damaging modifications,", Reader of Experimental Systems Biology at the University of Warwick and the research team's lead. In the press release talking about the breakthrough, the researchers note how this could vastly improve detection of autism in children.
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Chemical differences were observed between the two groups.
Blood and urine tests showed children with Autism had higher levels of protein damage in their blood plasma. "This may help us improve the diagnosis of ASD and point the way to new causes of ASD". The outcome was a diagnostic test better than any method now available.
"We have discovered that the energy of estimating harmed proteins to the cerebrum might be a reason for an improvement of autism", said Paul Thornalley, teacher in frameworks science at the University of Warwick, who co-drove the study.
Genetic causes are thought to be responsible for around a third of autism spectrum disorder cases, while the rest are believed to be caused by a combination of environmental factors and genetic mutations and variants. The idea is somewhat similar - you find the differences in the brains of ASD sufferers and feed them into an algorithm which then predicts autism incidence.
Max Davie from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, who did not work on this study, also questions the validity of the data, pointing out, "The analysis was derived from children whose ages averaged 7-8, so there is no data to indicate that very young children will have the same metabolic pattern and that the results found would be reproducible in infants".
A simple blood test could soon be all that's needed to diagnose autism in children.