Blood Test To Find If A Child Has Autism Developed

Henrietta Brewer
March 19, 2017

Identifying youngsters with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) paves the way for parents and doctors to begin treatment earlier.

The researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute found a new method that can accurately predict if the child is on the Autism spectrum of disorder (ASD).

Clarity in the diagnosis of children affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a major challenge facing modern medical researchers.

Dr. Hahn, a member of the Rensselaer Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies said that the researchers did everything to make the model independent of the data, and this will be the first physiological diagnostic that is highly accurate and specific.

The scientists compared blood sample data from children with autism and neurotypical children, all between 3 and 10 years old.

"The method presented in this work is the only one of its kind that can classify an individual as being on the autism spectrum or as being neurotypical", says study author Juergen Hahn.

The algorithm uses big data to find two cellular pathways that indicate a person on the spectrum with roughly 97 percent accuracy - meaning earlier diagnosis and better outcomes, according to the paper, in the journal PLOS Computational Biology.

The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in NY, which created the algorithm, studied its efficiency through advanced data analysis and published the results in the journal PLOS Computational Biology.

In kids with autism, substances produced by what are known as folate-dependent one-carbon metabolism and transulfuration pathways were altered, according to the findings.

The researchers collected blood samples from all the 159 children and found out that the blood test succeeded in diagnosing autism cases nearly accurately in most of the children with autism. "We are not aware of any other method, using any type of biomarker, that can do this, much less with the degree of accuracy that we see in our work".

The researchers in NY used a sample data from 83 children with autism and 76 of without autism.

However, Hahn also concedes that more research is needed to confirm the results.

But Chinese research suggests obesity may also be a factor. People with ASD "may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from most other people".

The number of ASD diagnoses has drastically increased over the past few decades, and in the USA, the estimates show a 30 percent increase in the number of children with ASD compared with previous years.

He added: "We emphasise these models are cross validated helping to ensure the results will generalise to new samples".

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