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Newest ASD blood test furthers shift to medical tests for earlier diagnosis

Dallas, TX — Measuring levels of two specific proteins in the blood may enable earlier diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to a new study by the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.


Those proteins were identified in previous research as potential markers for ASD.  In the new research, simultaneously measuring levels of both proteins was able to accurately diagnose ASD in 82 percent of children participating in the study.


The study is among several recent and ongoing efforts to shift ASD diagnosis from behavioral symptoms to various medical tests.  In turn, according to researchers, earlier diagnosis based on those tests could lead to earlier intervention and help limit the effects of the disorder.


One such test comes from the Troy, New York-based Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), which in March 2017 reported a 98-percent accuracy rate for its autism blood test. 


A study in the Feb. 2017 edition of Nature reported that scans of infants’ brains to measure their growth were promising at predicting whether kids under 12 months old might develop autism between 12 and 24 months.


And University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) research published this July found that children with autism have a tell-tale difference on brain activity tests compared with other children.  The lower their frequency of brain waves called peak alpha frequency waves, the lower their non-verbal IQ, UCLA researchers found.


Most ASD cases are currently not diagnosed until about age four, when communication and social disabilities become apparent.