Scientists Discover Key Indicators to Diagnose Autism Early

Autism is a neuro-developmental disorder characterized by social interaction and communication challenges, and restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviour. While the real cause of the ailment remains obscure, it has noted that genetics may play an important role in assessing you risk. is the world’s third most common development disorder and is usually established between infancy to early childhood. In most cases, autism can be diagnosed as early as at 2 to 3 years of age.

A new study, led by researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, has found a novel way to diagnose autism spectrum disorder (ASD) at its early stage. The team of researchers have identified two proteins that can help detect ASD, especially in boys, with 82 per cent accuracy.

According to experts, measuring the levels of proteins, namely thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and interleukin-8 (IL-8) alone would vary from 74 to 76 per cent.  However, when both the proteins are used together, they can increase the accuracy of diagnosis up to 82 per cent. These two proteins have been recognized as potential biomarkers for ASD in the blood.

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For the study, the team examined 30 boys with ASD and 30 typically-developing boys, aged 2-8 years. The findings showed that TSH levels were significantly lower in ASD boys, whereas IL-8 levels were significantly elevated, suggesting that TSH levels may be useful for assessing specific ASD phenotypes. This information about the hormonestatus along with inflammation provides greater diagnostic accuracy for the identification of ASD, the researchers conclude.

“Autism is a heterogeneous disorder, and if we can identify biomarkers for even a subgroup of autism patients, then that would be extremely helpful not only for early diagnosis but also for the development of therapeutics,” said Dwight C. German from the University of Texas. The study was published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation.

Some early symptoms that you must pay attention to include lack of gestural or verbal activity in newborns, difficultly in forming phrases or words by the age of two or compulsive behavior. If you notice any unusual signs that could affect his or her growth and development consult a pediatrician immediately.

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