Saturday, May 30, 2015

Urine test to screen for Autism

Women have been doing it for over a decade: Pee on a stick in the privacy of your own home and moments later, find out if you are pregnant. Two lines or one, positive or negative, pregnant or not pregnant. It’s as simple as that. Could it now be this simple to diagnose Autism?

According to a research published a couple of years ago, children with autism have a different chemical fingerprint in their urine than non-autistic children. The researchers behind the study, from Imperial College London and the University of South Australia, suggest that their findings could ultimately lead to a simple urine test to determine whether or not a young child has autism.

According to the CDC, Autism affects an estimated one in every 100 people in the US. People with autism have a range of different symptoms, but they commonly experience problems with communication and social skills, such as understanding other people's emotions and making conversation and eye contact. Currently, diagnosing a child with Autism can be a very subjective process. Parents often notice something is not right about their child between the ages of 12-18 months. At present, the only way to assess a child for autism is through a lengthy process involving a range of tests that explore the child's social interaction, communication and imaginative skills. Many children don’t get diagnosed until even later, missing a critical window of opportunity for early intervention.

People with autism are also known to suffer from gastrointestinal disorders and they have a different makeup of bacteria in their guts from non-autistic people.

This research shows that it is possible to distinguish between autistic and non-autistic children by looking at the by-products of gut bacteria and the body's metabolic processes in the children's urine. The exact biological significance of gastrointestinal disorders in the development of autism is unknown.

The distinctive urinary metabolic fingerprint for autism identified in this new study could form the basis of a non-invasive test that might help diagnose autism earlier.

This would enable autistic children to begin treatment for autism, such as advanced behavioral therapy, earlier in their development than is currently possible.

Early intervention using the methods of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) can greatly improve the progress of children with autism. The earlier the better.

Daniel Adatto, BCBA



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