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.
The World Health Organization has announced that the Ebola virus has killed some 1,552 people in West Africa, mostly in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, since the outbreak began in January.
UN deputy secretary general Jan Eliasson said the failure to address the issue of sanitation would prove “disastrous.”
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has taken 1,552 lives out of 3,069 known cases in four countries and "continues to accelerate", WHO said
Presidential Press Secretary Jerolinmek Piah told AA the names would be announced later.
The WHO urged a range of "regulatory options", including prohibiting e-cigarette makers from making health claims
The doctor died after receiving the experimental drug ZMapp.
Japan has received inquiries from some countries on the influenza drug favipiravir, or T-705 as it is known in the developmental code.
Some 54 people have died in or near the capital Accra, and around 300 people are now being infected daily with the highly contagious disease, putting pressure on local health facilities, said Linda Van-Otoo, GHS director for Greater Accra.
A Philippine seaman is being monitored in Togo for signs of the disease but authorities say the country is still Ebola-free, despite dozens of workers returning from Liberia.
A 36-year-old man from Senegal is being tested in Barcelona.
MSF (Doctors Without Borders) has deployed 1,000 of its own staff in the stricken region, running centres that currently have 300 beds
On Wednesday, the residents of the two communities woke up just after the president ordered the quarantine only to find their community barricaded with soldiers and police officers preventing people from leaving or entering the two areas.
They were given ZMapp, a drug used on a handful of patients in the West African outbreak and produced by U.S.-based Mapp Biopharmaceutical.
A local priest who asked not to be named said that the illness had affected several villages and estimated that the death toll was over 100 people.
The calculation highlights the dilemma facing officials considering how to distribute the tiny quantities of unproven drugs that are likely to be available in the near term
"We are hopeful and grateful to God and to the medical team that they are showing signs of improvement," Liberia's Information Minister Lewis Brown told a press conference on Tuesday.