"Our test is expected to improve the accuracy of ASD diagnosis from 60-70 percent now achieved by experts in neurological disorders to approximately 90 percent accuracy and potentially offered at all well-equipped hospitals with or without high level expertise in neurological disorders", Naila Rabbani, a biologist at the University of Warwick and the study's lead author, told Gizmodo. The study claims that children with ASD had higher levels of the oxidation marker dityrosine, as well as what are called advanced glycation end products (AGE). Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is believed to impact approximately 1 in 100 people, but with its broad range of symptoms can be hard to correctly identify thus delaying possible treatment.
Researchers led by those from Warwick University in the United Kingdom have developed a diagnosis test for autism that may predict it with an unprecedented level of accuracy. "With further testing, we may reveal specific plasma and urinary profiles, or "fingerprints", of compounds with damaging modifications". However the research team also believe that the new tests could reveal yet to be identified causes of ASD. She also added that larger studies and more research would reveal the cause and factors that are associated with autism which still is a poorly understood condition.
The findings were published in the journal Molecular Autism.
Autism disorders mainly affect social interaction, and can include a number of behavioural problems, including speech disturbances, compulsive behaviour, hyperactivity, anxiety and a difficulty adapting to new environments.
Genetic causes are thought to be responsible for around a third of cases, with the remainder believed to be caused by environmental factors, mutations or rare genetic variants. Working with a further collaborator at the University of Birmingham, the changes in multiple compounds were combined together using artificial intelligence algorithms techniques to develop a mathematical equation or "algorithm" to distinguish between ASD and healthy controls.
But now, a team of worldwide researchers led by the University of Warwick claims to have developed a series of tests which can accurately tell whether a child has ASD based on physical properties in the body.
"This study does not disclose to us how successfully this measure can separate amongst autism and other neurodevelopmental or emotional well-being conditions, for example, ADHD and tension".
Currently, if a child is suspected of having autism, doctors carry out a series of behavioral tests, which take time and may not not give an accurate diagnosis. The children were aged between 5 and 12 years.
A blood test could help to diagnose autism in children by detecting early warning signs.
Most doctors will not diagnose a child as autistic until about 18 months old, according to the CDC, though symptoms can appear earlier. Nonetheless, we're still some way from an actual test that could be applied to children.