Autism finding linked to urine test for condition
7 June 2010
Children with autism have a different chemical fingerprint in their urine from non-autistic children, according to new research published in the Journal of Proteome Research, on 4 June.
Imperial researchers behind the study 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.People with autism are also known to suffer from gastrointestinal disorders and they have a different make-up of bacteria in their guts from non-autistic people.The study’s research shows that it is possible to distinguish between autistic and non-autistic children by looking at the by-products of gut bacteria and the body’s metabolic processes in the children’s urine.
The distinctive urinary metabolic fingerprint for autism identified in the 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.
Corresponding author of the study, Professor Jeremy Nicholson (Surgery and Cancer), said: “We hope our findings might be the first step towards creating a simple urine test to diagnose autism at a really young age, although this may be a long way off – such a test could take years to develop. A urine test might enable professionals to quickly identify children with autism and help them early on.”
— Laura Gallagher, Communications