Researchers say a child’s autism status may soon be determined from a blood sample.
At present, it is determined by clinical examination — a situation that means the condition will not be detected in most children until they are four years old.
In a study published in the June edition of Bioengineering & Translational Medicine, scientists confirmed success in assessing whether a child is on the autism spectrum.
The test uses an algorithm to predict if a child has autism spectrum disorder (ASD) based on metabolites in a blood sample.
The tests were carried out on 303 children in groups and reported 88% accuracy.
“We are able to predict with 88% accuracy whether children have autism,” said Juergen Hahn, lead author and head of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s department of biomedical engineering.
“This is an approach that we would like to see move forward into clinical trials and ultimately into a commercially available test.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ASD is characterised as “a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain”.
An estimated 1.7% of all children are diagnosed with ASD.
Earlier diagnosis may lead to better outcomes as children engage in early intervention services.
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