Tag Archives: autism

Autism finding could lead to simple urine test for the condition

Autism spectrum
Autism spectrum

Children with autism have a different chemical fingerprint in their urine than non-autistic children, according to new research published tomorrow in the print edition of the Journal of Proteome Research.

The researchers behind the study, from Imperial College London and the University of South Australia, suggest that their findings could ultimately lead to a simple urine test to determine whether or not a young child has autism.

Autism affects an estimated one in every 100 people in the UK. People with autism have a range of different symptoms, but they commonly experience problems with communication and social skills, such as understanding other people’s emotions and making conversation and eye contact.

People with autism are also known to suffer from gastrointestinal disorders and they have a different makeup of bacteria in their guts from non-autistic people… The distinctive urinary metabolic fingerprint for autism identified in today’s study could form the basis of a non-invasive test that might help diagnose autism earlier. This would enable autistic children to receive assistance, such as advanced behavioural therapy, earlier in their development than is currently possible.

At present, children are assessed for autism through a lengthy process involving a range of tests that explore the child’s social interaction, communication and imaginative skills.

Early intervention can greatly improve the progress of children with autism but it is currently difficult to establish a firm diagnosis when children are under 18 months of age, although it is likely that changes may occur much earlier than this.

The researchers suggest that their new understanding of the makeup of bacteria in autistic children’s guts could also help scientists to develop treatments to tackle autistic people’s gastrointestinal problems.” (Science Blog)

Ann Bauer: the monster inside my son

“I'm exhausted and hopeless and vaguely hung over because Andrew, who has autism, also has evolved from sweet, dreamy boy to something like a golem: bitter, rampaging, full of rage. It happened no matter how fiercely I loved him or how many therapies I employed.” via Salon.

An Outbreak of Autism, or a Statistical Fluke?

Major brain structures implicated in autism.

Autism is terrifying the community of Somali immigrants in Minneapolis, and some pediatricians and educators have joined parents in raising the alarm. But public health experts say it is hard to tell whether the apparent surge of cases is an actual outbreak, with a cause that can be addressed, or just a statistical fluke.

… A small recent study of refugees in schools in Stockholm found that Somalis were in classes for autistic children at three times the normal rate.

Calls to representatives of Somali groups in Seattle and San Diego found that they were aware of the fear in Minneapolis but unsure about their own rates. Doctors familiar with the Somali communities in Boston and Lewiston, Me., had heard of no surges there.” NYTimes.

Autism in the Presidential debate?

Karyotype for trisomy Down syndrome.Karyotype for trisomy Down syndromeSome have balked at McCain’s riff on autism in answer to a debate question about his running mate’s qualifications for the Presidency. Without meaning to cast aspersions on the struggles of having a special needs child, I can’t see its bearing on the skills required to be President; others have found that difficult to understand as well. And I share others’ puzzlement over how having a Downs Syndrome child makes her qualified to understand autism. I would go even further. It would not surprise me, after watching McCain’s comments in the debate, if he is confused about the distinction between the two conditions.

And don’t even get me started on her use of her special needs child to make political points…