Researchers at the University of Warwick have developed tests for early diagnosis of autism. They started from the blood and urine samples of some patients and identified a series of possible markers. The test could help identify the most dubious cases of autism spectrum disorders right away.
Autism spectrum disorders and autism include a wide range of symptoms. These include problems of social interaction, compulsive behavior, hyperactivity, anxiety. The amount of possible symptoms makes it difficult in some cases to make a clear and safe diagnosis. For this reason, in the early stages the disorder can go almost unnoticed and remain without a diagnosis.
The authors of the study collaborated with researchers at the University of Bologna. They involved 38 children with autism spectrum disorders between 5 and 12 years. 31 children were used as a control group.
Scientists have found a link between autism spectrum disorders and damage in some plasma proteins. Examining the blood of some small patients, they identified high levels of oxidation markers of dityrosine (DT). They also found reaction products between sugars and proteins called advanced glycation end-products (AGE).
The causes of autism and autism spectrum disorders are still unclear. It is thought that genetics plays a decisive role in at least a third of cases. As for the others, it is suspected that the cause is the set of environmental factors and genetic mutations. According to the authors of the study, the anomalies identified by the test could be among the possible causes.
The next step will be to repeat the study with a larger group of children. Only in this way will it be possible to understand if the test is really effective for the early diagnosis of autism.