Study Believes Biological Test For Austism Closer Than Ever

Scientist believed that they may have found a way to detect Autism early in children through blood and urine test.

The researchers in their study, tested children with and without the condition, leading to finding higher levels of protein damage in those with the disorder. They believe this could eventually lead to earlier detection of the condition, which can be
difficult to diagnose.

Autism is a mental condition that affects behaviour, particularly social interaction but it is difficult to diagnosed before the age of two. No biological procedure to help detect the condition, usually diagnosed through behavioural assessments.

Published in the Molecular Autism journal, the study conducted by researchers led by Dr Naila Rabbani, 38 autistic children and 31 children without the condition, aged between five and 12, had the chemical differences in their blood and urine examined.

Higher levels of protein damage - particularly in the blood plasma -  was found in those with autism which they said were associated with ill health.

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.

She said: "We have the method, we have everything. All we need to do is repeat it. I would really like to go forward with younger children, maybe two years, or even one year old. Then the next step will be to validate in a larger cohort. Then the tests will be ready for screening."

Experts and other researchers expressed caution about the study saying such a test was still a long way off. Dr James Cusack, director of science at the UK autism research charity Autistica, said: "This study may give us clues about why autistic people are different but it does not provide a new method for diagnosis. It is far too early for that."

"We don't know whether this technique can tell the difference between autism, ADHD, anxiety or other similar conditions. The study also only looked at a small group of people. The best way to diagnose autism is still through clinical interview and observation."

Dr Max Davie, from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, believes it was a promising area of research but noted that a test for autism, still a long way from reality.

"While we applaud the arrival of this interesting area of research, it is important that it is not adopted with too much enthusiasm - if applied to a large population it will produce large numbers of 'false positives', causing huge worry and potential harm to children and families."

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