New test could pave way for early diagnosis of autism in children

Scientists believe they may have developed a test which can detect autism in children at a much earlier age than existing methods.

The University of Warwick, which published the report, says a new blood and urine test could lead to an earlier diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder.

Experts believe that the earlier a diagnosis is, the more beneficial it is for a child. This is because effective treatments can be administered at the right time, for example, in school or at home.

According to the National Autistic Society, autism affects around one in every 100 people, or around 700,000 people across the UK.

However, autism is often considered a “hidden disability” and can be mistaken for other disorders.

The new test found biological differences between people who have been confirmed autistic and a group which has not. The scientists also believe they could use the test to monitor autistic children for changes, as well as assess existing treatments.

Lead researcher Naila Rabbani, reader of experimental systems biology at the University of Warwick, said: “Our discovery could lead to earlier diagnosis and intervention. We hope the tests will also reveal new causative factors.

“With further testing we may reveal specific plasma and urinary profiles – or ‘fingerprints’ – of compounds with damaging modifications. This may help us improve the diagnosis of ASD and point the way to new causes of ASD.”

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