Urine Test Could Lead to Autism Breakthrough

Photo by Flickr/Argonne National Laboratory

Researchers at the Imperial College in London have found that due to the gastrointestinal disorders and the different bacterial makeup that children with autism have in their stomachs, they leave a particular chemical trace in their urine that children who do not have autism.  As a result, these researchers are proposing that something as simple as a urine test could determine whether or not a child has autism.

The researchers are unsure of what exactly the significance is behind the gastrointestinal issues that children with autism have.  However, simply knowing that they exist, could lead to a diagnosis.

If the researcher’s hypothesis proves to be correct, this could be a major breakthrough.  Typically, a child must go through many rounds of testing to determine if they have autism.  Also, doctors often struggle to give autism diagnoses before the child is 18 months of age.  The urine test would allow for the child to be diagnosed much earlier, and save them the trouble of testing and uncertainty.

Additionally, the researchers believe that from their studies, they will be able to develop treatments that help ameliorate children with autism’s gastrointestinal problems.

The leader of the researchers and corresponding author of the story, Professor Jeremy Nicholson, said:

“Autism is a condition that affects a person’s social skills, so at first it might seem strange that there’s a relationship between autism and what’s happening in someone’s gut. However, your metabolism and the makeup of your gut bacteria reflect all sorts of things, including your lifestyle and your genes. Autism affects many different parts of a person’s system and our study shows that you can see how it disrupts their system by looking at their metabolism and their gut bacteria.”

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