World Bulletin / News Desk
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 U.S. 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 percent 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.
New World Drug Report research identifies heroin as deadliest drug
Zika has caused alarm throughout the Americas since cases of the birth defect microcephaly were reported in Brazil, the country hardest hit by the outbreak
Philadelphia has become the first big city in the US to place a tax on soda to tackle the obesity crisis
Average global temperatures startlingly higher than normal between March-May
Government study provides strongest evidence of cell phone health effects
The reason for the high-level threat in the area is the presence there of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which carry the Zika virus that health authorities say causes birth defects in newborns
Three-day African Utility Week conference begins in South African city of Cape Town
More than two thousand activists came together to close an opencast coal mine in Germany.
New federal rules unveiled on Thursday will tackle the release of the greenhouse gas methane from oil wells and equipment as part of an effort to fight climate change.
At least five reef islands in the remote Solomon Islands have been lost completely to sea level rise and coastal erosion
Heads of UN, Work Bank lay out vision to deal with climate change
Turkish environment minister signs historic agreement in New York against taking action against climate change
Human defense mechanisms could be disrupted by the presence of a class of organic pollutants in fish and other food, according to new research.
'The time has come to treat childhood stunting as a development and an economic emergency,' World Bank Group head says
Obese population hits all-time high with a new studying finding that obesity can be predicted in babies