A new test has been developed that can predict the future emergence of Autism in young children and infants using a single strand of their hair. The test analyses levels of led and aluminium, which are higher in Autistic children. Because of this, the FDA has granted the test a “breakthrough device” designation to aid Autism diagnosis.
The test, called StrandDx, analyses the levels of chemicals in a strand of a child’s hair. This enables clinicians to capture a snapshot of chemical exposure and how the child processes their environment. This means the test can predict a child’s chances of being Autistic by analysing how their body responds to the environment. The test could also help identify subtypes of Autism and predict prognoses and who might benefit from which therapies.
In previous research, baby teeth from children with Autism have been found to contain more toxic lead and less of the essential nutrients zinc and manganese compared to teeth from children without Autism. The lack or excess of essential minerals is known to cause various health problems. This could also contribute to the cause of Autism. Studies have suggested that mercury and other toxins play a role in the pathogenesis of Autism.
- The hair-based test, StrandDx can predict the future emergence of Autism in young children and infants using a single strand of their hair.
- The test analyses levels of lead and aluminium, which are higher in autistic children.
- In an analysis of 97 hair samples, the algorithm correctly identified cases in which autism spectrum disorder was diagnosed more than 96% of the time.
- The test could be most helpful in groups with a higher risk of Autism. Such as children who have missed developmental markers or have siblings with autism.
- The FDA has granted the test a “breakthrough device” designed to aid autism diagnosis.
- Non-invasive and easy to administer.
- Early detection and intervention can improve outcomes for children with Autism.
- Can help clinicians identify Autism in young children before they miss developmental milestones.
- Can be most useful in groups with a higher risk of Autism
The hair-based test for autism diagnosis is a breakthrough in early detection and could help clinicians identify Autism in young children before they miss developmental milestones. The non-invasive nature of the test makes it easy to administer. Because of this early detection and intervention can improve outcomes for children with Autism. The FDA’s “breakthrough device” designation is a promising step towards making this test widely available to clinicians and families.