A new clinical trial is part of potentially groundbreaking research into autism. The result may be a simple blood test that could help diagnose autism in children early.
In twenty cities across the country, including Houston, kids between the ages of 18 months and five years old are part of a study to potentially prove that you can genetically test for autism. Emory University genetics counselor Meagan Smith explains, "Instead of having early intervention at four or five years of age you could have early intervention at one or two."
What researchers will be looking for in the children's blood is RNA levels. If your DNA is your instruction manual, your RNA is how those instructions are interpreted and used to make things like the color of your eyes or hair.
In the end, a tiny vile could change the way autism is diagnosed. "If they can give the doctors a test that can help them rule in or out the possibility of autism, they will be better able to guide doctors on which path to take in making that diagnosis," said Smith.
To be eligible for the closest trial at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, the children must have been referred to the Autism Center for evaluation, but not yet have an official autism diagnosis yet.
The children will receive diagnostic testing for autism and other disabilities, an exam by a developmental pediatrician and will have their blood drawn.
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Here is the information from the clinical trial company's website:
SynapDx is currently recruiting patients for a clinical study called STORY. The purpose of the study is to develop a blood test that can identify children who are at a higher risk of being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs).
STORY will enroll 660 children ages 18 months to 60 months (5 years old) at 20 developmental specialty centers in the US and Canada. This study is specifically recruiting children who have not yet been diagnosed with ASDs. Children who have been previously diagnosed with ASD are not eligible for this study.