Metabolomics May Be a Potential Biomarker for Autism

  • Autism
  • Child neurology

 A study published in the online edition of Autism Research shows that blood samples can be used to identify unique metabolic signatures (metabotypes) in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).The research identified metabotypes in more than 50% of the children with autism who participated in the study. Validation of additional metabotypes of ASD could result in the ability to detect a higher percentage of children with ASD. Earlier detection of ASD offers the potential for earlier interventions, many of which have proven efficacy in helping people with autism manage troublesome issues while using their strengths to fully participate in their communities. 
For the Children’s Autism Metabolome Project (CAMP) study (NCT02548442), 1,102 children from the age of 18 months to 48 months gave blood samples to generate a panel of validated biomarkers.   

 “While further research is needed, given the virtual absence of effective biomarkers to detect autism risk in very young children, we are optimistic that this approach has enormous potential for identifying children as early as possible,” said David Amaral, PhD, professor at the UC Davis MIND Institute and the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, UC Davis. “Moreover, determining that an individual child has a particular pattern of metabolic alterations may offer the possibility of new targeted and personalized therapies.”
“These new findings from the CAMP study represent another step in our efforts to develop a metabolomics-based screening tool for ASD,” said Elizabeth Donley, JD, MBA, MS, chief executive officer, NeuroPointDX. “While biomarkers of any kind cannot provide a definitive diagnosis of ASD, combining a metabolomics-based screen with behavioral testing increases the likelihood that those at risk for ASD can be detected as early as possible.” 

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