Autism 'Signature' Detectable in the Blood?
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Unique metabolic signatures in the blood can accurately identify more than 50% of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a finding that researchers believe could lead to earlier diagnosis and perhaps tailored treatments.

The latest findings from the Children's Autism Metabolome Project (CAMP) show that an "optimized" test battery detected 53% of children who had ASD with 91% specificity.

In the latest study, CAMP researchers quantitatively assessed 39 metabolites associated with amino acid and energy metabolism in an attempt to expand the identification of metabolic subpopulations of children with ASD.

The analyses included 499 children aged 18 to 48 months who had ASD and 209 typically developing children. The researchers identified 34 candidate metabotypes that differentiated subsets of children with ASD from the typically developing participants.

The 34 metabotypes formed six clusters related to amino acid and mitochondrial energy metabolism. These clusters constituted ratios containing lactate or pyruvate, succinate, ?-ketoglutarate, glycine, ornithine, and 4-hydroxyproline in combination with other metabolites.

These clusters highlight potential dysregulation in amino acid and energy metabolism in children with ASD in comparison to typically developing children, the researchers note. The "optimized" metabotype screening test battery had a sensitivity of 53% and a specificity of 91% in ASD detection.

"While biomarkers of any kind cannot provide a definitive diagnosis, combining a metabolomics-based screen with a behavioral screening tool...increases the likelihood that those at risk for ASD can be detected as early as possible," they add.

Source: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/aur.2330
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