Researchers Working on Blood Test to Identify Autism in Children Earlier than Before
By Sam Lehman | Apr 29, 2013 09:05 AM EDT
Researchers are currently working toward developing a simple blood test that can identify if a child is suffering from autism in a much early stage, which is an otherwise lengthy process, reports Science World Report.
In a new study from a company named SynapDx, researchers are working on developing a blood test which will simplify the process of identifying autism in young children and build scope for an early treatment and better results. The new test can identify autistic symptoms based on gene expression. The study includes 660 participants at 20 U.S. medical facilities who will be tested and distinguished between autistic and non-autistic children, says the report.
Autism is a combination of several conditions which create social awkwardness, language difficulties and intellectual disabilities. It is commonly referred to as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) due to its multi-disorder symptoms. Currently, autistic patients are given behavioral therapy, which helps about 20 percent of them to overcome the disorder. But the therapies act effectively if begun in the early stages, which is very uncommon. Only 20 percent of all patients are diagnosed by the age of 3. Traditionally, the person's behavior and prior medical history is taken into consideration to diagnose the disorder.
"If a blood test could indicate ASD risk, it would help families and physicians know when to refer children to an ASD expert, potentially leading to earlier treatment and better outcomes," Dr. Jeremy Veenstra VanderWeele, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Vanderbilt University, said in a statement.
A previous study conducted by researchers at the University of Melbourne in Australia last year helped in developing a genetic test which nearly identified ASD in patients, with over 70 percent accuracy.
Last October, Dan Geschwind, director of the Center for Autism Research and Treatment at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a scientific advisor for SynapDx, said that four different groups had identified "potential biomarkers" in ASD, but none could prove that this phenomenon could provide accurate results.