Doctors find blood test for ASD

If you could find out for sure if you or your child is on the autism spectrum, would you? Scientists at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York have discovered a very controversial new test that they say can find out if a patient has ASD with a simple blood test. While this would streamline the process for parents who are eagerly awaiting a solution to their difficulties in raising a neuroatypical child, it may not be a real breakthrough. It could take anywhere from 10 to 20 years for medical research to become practice because of testing and screening processes.

This new test is said to measure 24 metabolites found in the blood. The research paper which was published in the journal PLOS ONE, says the test is capable of predicting whether a person is affected by ASD in 97 per cent of cases and to what extent.

This is not the first time such a claim has been made. Over the years, many researchers have claimed that they could test for the disorder, though none proved to be reliable. There is still no definitive test available to
patients.

Currently, doctors ‘test’ patients for ASD through a series of behavior assessments. Autism Canada, an advocacy group and registered charity who say they are aimed at giving Canadians a “united national voice focusing on the issues that affect individuals living on the spectrum and their families,” says that children as young as 18 months can present symptoms of the disorder, though reliable assessment might not occur until the child is older. Doctors rely on screening tests that vary widely to diagnose and assess children. They recommend treatment and coping therapies based on those assessments and the needs of the individual child. Because the disorder is a spectrum rather than one set of symptoms or treatment plans, it is difficult for medical professionals to come up with one definitive testing method.

Though many refer to ASD as simply ‘autism,’ the spectrum includes many different things including previous diagnoses of Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s Disorder, and PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified)

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