Scientists develop genetic autism test

2012-09-12 16:38
A child with autism uses an iPad at the Key School. (Jenni Gous)

A child with autism uses an iPad at the Key School. (Jenni Gous)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Canberra - Australian scientists have developed a genetic test to predict autism spectrum disorder in children, which could provide a long-sought way for early detection and intervention, according to a study published on Wednesday.

About one in 150 children has autism, with symptoms ranging from social awkwardness and narrow interests to severe communication and intellectual disabilities, said researchers led by the University of Melbourne.

The researchers used US data from more than 3 000 individuals with autism in their study, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, to identify 237 genetic markers in 146 genes and related cellular pathways.

By measuring these markers, which either contribute to or protect an individual from developing autism, scientists could assess the risk of developing autism.

The risk markers increase the score on the genetic test, while the protective markers decrease the score. The higher the overall score, the higher the individual risk.

"This test could assist in the early detection of the condition in babies and children and help in the early management of those who become diagnosed," lead researcher Stan Skafidas said in a statement.

The test correctly predicted autism with more than 70% accuracy in people of central European descent, with study into other ethnic groups continuing.

The test would allow clinicians to provide early intervention to reduce behavioural and cognitive difficulties in people with autism.

"Early identification of risk means we can provide interventions to improve overall functioning for those affected, including families," clinical neuropsychologist Renee Testa said in a statement.
Read more on:    health  |  genetics

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

linking and moving

2015-04-22 07:36 publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Miley Cyrus can’t get enough of her new puppy

Miley's new dog is too adorable.



13 guilty pets
Meet SA's top poacher-catcher
The unusual pets of Instagram
Bertie sets a new world record!

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

Plant some seeds. Your innovative mind is on fire and your ingenious ideas may just be the seeds for future projects. You may more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.