DENVER (KDVR) — A new test for autism is in development that could use a single hair to look for biomarkers in very young children.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 44 children in the United States is currently diagnosed with autism, and the goal of helping with the diagnosis is early intervention.
The tool is in the early stages of development and has not received federal approval, but it is of interest to local doctors and families.
Jennifer Cove is Executive Director of the Colorado Autism Society. Her son, Hayden, was diagnosed with autism at an early age and says early intervention was key.
“He just did a school musical and plays baritone. He’s an incredible kid,” Cove said.
She says it can be difficult to get an autism diagnosis, and it can take months just to get an appointment.
“We waited almost a year for the diagnosis to get help for our son,” she said.
But now a company called Linus Biotechnology is developing a diagnostic aid that uses a single hair to look for biomarkers and exposures. This test could one day help identify at-risk children and infants before they develop symptoms.
“Early intervention is the best predictor of success for people with autism, so if a test like this allows us to do early intervention more quickly, that would be a great opportunity,” says Cove. I got
But she hopes that such tests will only be used as diagnostic aids and will be used in conjunction with other methodologies.
“I think this study is interesting,” said Chris Rogers, Ph.D., medical director and child psychiatrist at the HealthONE Behavioral Health and Wellness Center in Aurora.
“There was nothing convincing about saying, ‘This is what causes autism,'” he noted.
So while peer-reviewed studies have shown it to be highly predictive of autism, Dr. Rogers cautions.
“Before you start advertising that you can diagnose autism at 1 year old, I want you to make sure you understand what we’re talking about. I don’t think we’re quite there yet.” He said.
The US Food and Drug Administration has awarded Linus Biotechnology StrandDx-ASD Breakthrough Device designation.
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