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  • Scientists developed a blood test that could detect autism in babies

    Author: AAP

Researchers in New York say 96 per cent of children on the autism spectrum would be picked up through a new early detection blood test.

Scientists in the US have developed a blood test that has the potential to accurately detect autism in babies.

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Researchers at New York's Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute claim 96 per cent of children on the autism spectrum would be picked up through the test.

If proven accurate in further trials, it could lead to vital early intervention for children diagnosed on the autism spectrum.

The test measures the level of 24 proteins that have been linked to autism.


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It was found five of the proteins, when in the right combination, seemed most predictive of the condition.

The researchers made the discovery by comparing blood samples taken from 83 autistic children, aged 3 to 10, with normal functioning children.

While the combination was present in 97.6 per cent, it was absent in 96.1 per cent of 76 normal children, according to the study published in the journal PLOS Computational Biology.

"This level of accuracy for classification as well as severity prediction far exceeds any other approach in this field and is a strong indicator that the metabolites under consideration are strongly correlated with an ASD diagnosis," the authors wrote.

An estimated one in 100 people has autism, that equates to about 230,000 Australians.

Children are currently diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) by a trained clinical psychologist through observing behaviours. This can often be a drawn out process and lead to a delay in diagnosis.

Recent analysis of Medicare data revealed the average age of diagnosis in Australia is just before a child's sixth birthday, even though ASD can be reliably detected at two years of age.


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