A new study published in Reuters Health publication suggests that with the current advances in genetics, we may eventually be able to treat people with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) more extensively.
Stephen Scherer. author of the study, said that what they are ultimately trying to achieve is the segmentation of autism into different subcategories, so they can create specific treatments.
It is widely acknowledged that people with autism spectrum syndrome may have emotional, communication and social difficulties. But studies rarely went past that. It has been observed that autism sufferers have different behaviors and ways of learning, it’s just that not no one tried to actually to distinguish the complex mental disorder.
Scherer and his team scanned 250 random Canadian children with autism diagnoses. They were looking for duplicated or absent sections of a chromosome using microarray analysis. The results showed that almost 10% of the children had mutations that could help the researchers get a better understand of ASD.
Whole-exome sequencing has been applied on 100 children, which is the most advanced genetic test available. The screening found genetic mutations in 9 of the children. The results of both tests were put together and the final statistics said that 16% of the participants had genetic mutations.
When the children were tested for physical abnormalities, 29% percent had physical abnormalities, but in modest amounts. The author said that one day it might be possible to predict ASD and its complex genetic mutations just from a couple of physical exams.
According to estimations, each screening test costs about $1,000 and it still is some years away from being available outside of scientific surroundings.
To the parent’s dissatisfaction, scientists still do not know what is the likelihood of a second child of theirs to be born with an autism spectrum syndrome. The new findings will not change the children’s life anytime soon, but they may prove tremendously important in further studies.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that one in 70 US kids suffer from autism, and is five times more prevalent among males.
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