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.
Worst water shortage in 50 years sees residents of Harare turning to unhygienic supplies
In the face of prejudice, Noelia Garcia is the first person with Down syndrome to work as a preschool teacher in Argentina — and one of the few in the world.
Outbreak linked to heavy rains which encourage mosquito breeding
UN report warns that without measures to halt and reverse climate change, food production could become impossible in large areas of the world
It called for a "broad-based transformation of food and agricultural systems" to adapt to a warmer world, with an emphasis on supporting small shareholders.
A pre-COP22 ministerial meeting will be held in Morocco ahead of the conference to be held in Marrakech in November
Nearly 30-hour operation performed on 13-month-old boys
Among the world's wealthier regions, North America had the worst healthy life expectancy at birth for both men and women.
Diminishing coal in the energy mix must become a government policy in EU towards a low carbon economy: European think-tank
'Developing countries should be given access to nuclear power,' says International Atomic Energy Agency director
More people in the world are obese than underweight
Epipen maker Mylan has agreed to pay $465 million to the US government
3 of 4 transplants from living donors removed; scientists hope remaining transplant successful
Air monitoring station clocks dangerously high levels of smog
EU ministers have agreed to ratify the landmark Paris climate agreement
The man in the western state of Utah became ill after helping to take care of his 73-year-old father, who was hospitalized in June with Zika after being infected during a trip to his native Mexico.