Autism gene test developed by scientists
A GENETIC test to predict autism spectrum disorder in children, which could develop new ways to detect the condition, has been developed by scientists.
Australian researchers say their findings should also lead to better support being offered to families who have children diagnosed with autism.
About one in 150 children has some form of autism, with symptoms ranging from social awkwardness and narrow interests to severe communication and intellectual disabilities.
Experts from the University of Melbourne used U.S. data from more than 3,000 individuals with the condition and identified more than 300 genetic markers for the illness.
This would be the first genetic test available to detect the condition which can affect both children and adults.
Lead researcher Stan Skafidas said: “This test could assist in the early detection of the condition in babies and children and help in the early management of those who become diagnosed.”
“Early identification of risk means we can provide interventions to improve overall functioning for those affected, including families.”
The test his team has devised correctly predicted autism with more than 70 per cent accuracy, the study in the journal Molecular Psychiatry revealed.
The team says that by measuring the genetic markers - which either contribute to or protect an individual from developing autism - scientists could assess the risk of developing autism.
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