Autistic children have distinctive chemicals in their urine, according to a study by British researchers who say the results could pave the way for an diagnostic test for the disorder.
The finding also lends more weight to theories that substances related to gut bacteria may contribute to autism, New Scientist reports.
In the study, reported in the June 4 issue of the Journal of Proteome Research, Jeremy Nicholson and colleagues at Imperial College London examined 39 children with autism, 28 of their non-autistic siblings and 34 unrelated children. They analyzed the children's urine and found each group had a specific chemical signature, NS reports. In the autistic kids, the chemicals had the markings of gut bacteria.
The researchers emphasized that their findings in no way support claims that link autism to childhood vaccines.
Many kids with autism also have gastrointestinal problems, which manifest around the same time as their behavioral symptoms. Other studies have suggested a link between gastrointestinal bacteria and autism, including a 2006 study that noted more clostridium bacteria in the feces of autistic kids.
In the latest study, the Imperial College researchers say bacteria could be producing another substance, such as metabolic byproducts or toxins, that contributes to the onset of autism.
One substance identified in the urine of autistic kids was N-methyl-nicotinamide, a chemical that has been tied to Parkinson's disease.
Even if the bacteria are not causing autism, they could be used to detect the disorder at a young age. That's key, because studies show autism treatment is most successful when started early, but the disorder is often undiagnosed until two or three years of age.
being the parent of 2 autistic children I am happy to see that they are moving closer to getting real method of diagnosing this condition. What I am realy happy to see is that they clearly state that this does NOT support claims that vaccines cause autism, which is such a load of $#&^@.
I good find, although I would have used a diffrent word instead of gut, it always sounds a little akward to me. But what evers.
Im sorry for your childrens conditions but to say that vaccines full of poisons given to developing children does not cause harm or lead to developmental issues is an ignorant statement at best. Id encourage anyone who thinks otherwise to review whats in vaccines at vaccination.inoz.com/ingredie.html.
I've read this paper, and the popular spin that is being placed on it is just not correct. For one thing, the authors did not analyze for bacteria at all. They just analyzed the chemical contents of the urine. The paper does not address one important thing - the fact that many children with ASD are on special diets (for example gluten-free casein-free diets), and many are on large number of nutritional supplements. Any of these things could have influenced the distribution of chemicals found in the urine. However, the authors do not even mention whether they asked about these special diets/supplements at all. One of the authors is fully aware of this confounder, since she is the author of a scientific paper on the usage of these types of treatments in ASD.
In order to be valid, the ASD and control groups should have had identical, or at least similar, diets in a few weeks prior to beginning the testing.
I think that there is a more basic problem with the idea of an autism urine test. The disorder is not as clear-cut as a single diagnosis. The very name of autism (ASD) means Autism "Spectrum" Disorders.
It means the nature of the disorder will likely show very different results with each child up and down the Spectrum. Instead of one diagnosis, there are a number of potential ones. So it's not can't act as an up-or-down test.
If the test doesn't account for this (or diet, etc.) then it's likely that some results will be inconclusive; which would only provide more anxiety to parents.
The last sentence of the abstract reads:
"These biochemical changes are consistent with some of the known abnormalities of gut microbiota found in autistic individuals and the associated gastrointestinal dysfunction and may be of value in monitoring the success of therapeutic interventions"
Did you read the entire article? Does the article mention exactly WHAT "known abnormalities of gut bacteria"?
And the subjects' diet prior to the testing is not mentioned at all in the article?
If not, that's interesting. However, I saw where it was indicated that glutamate was low. Since that is consistently been shown to be a problem with kids with autism, so I doubt they would be taking any supplements TO lower that.
I haven't read the research paper in question yet, but I'd agree with Broken Link about diet being a major factor in clinical behavior. Perhaps more interesting, is the relation between N-methyl-nicotinamide and Parkinson's. I would like to know what the age-range of subjects studied was (?). Lastly, what exactly constitutes as autism these days (sans urine chemistry)?