Autism is a spectrum disorder that can be very difficult to diagnose until a child is a few years old and begins missing crucial developmental milestones. One of the biggest signs a child could be autistic is the lack of speech or the regression of speech around the age of two.
According to a study published in the June edition of the journal Bioengineering & Translational Medicine, the day might come where a simple blood test can predict whether your child has autism. The results of the study found strong evidence that medical experts can assess the metabolites in blood to determine whether a child has autism.
Disability Scoop notes it was a year ago that the first method of the blood test was published. The study examined the blood of 83 children with autism and 76 children without autism. Researchers were able to correctly identify which children did and did not have autism with a success rate of 97.6 percent using blood samples.
The secondary study involved examining different blood samples (with less information) to strengthen the findings from the initial study last year.
By the time the second round of the study concluded, researches were able to predict which children had autism based on the metabolites with an 88 percent success rate.
Juergen Hahn of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., who heads the research of this study, noted that the results of this study are “extremely promising.”
To date, autism is a spectrum condition diagnosed through assessments and observations. While children as young as two can be flagged as possibly having autism, most medical professionals are not comfortable diagnosing a child with autism until the age of four.
The reason the results of this study are so important is that it would allow medical experts to spot children who potentially have autism at a much earlier age. This would allow parents to set up early intervention therapy for their children. Research shows early treatment and therapy for children with autism is extremely effective.
Juergen Hahn noted the most important part of this study is how accurate the blood test is in determining whether a child could have autism, “The most meaningful result is the high degree of accuracy we are able to obtain using this approach on data collected years apart from the original data set. This is an approach that we would like to see move forward into clinical trials and ultimately into a commercially available test.”
Hahn hopes the day will come where this blood test just becomes a standard part of having a child.