Study finds link between Tryptophan metabolism and autism, offers clue for future test

3:04 PM, Jun 28, 2013   |    comments
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KUSA - A recent study may shed light on how to test for autism spectrum disorder.

The stud y found a link between the amino acid Tryptophan metabolism - which you may know as the chemical some say makes you drowsy after a Thanksgiving dinner - and autism.

One in 50 school-aged children will be diagnosed with autism-spectrum disorder. These tests are behavioral however, and no lab tests have been created.

"Right now there's no blood test," said 9NEWS health reporter Dr. John Torres. "It depends on what the parents see, what the doctors see, and what the clinicians see, and that's how we test for autism. If we can get the lab test, we can know somebody who looks like they have autism, and again, you can start the treatment early, which is great."

The study, conducted by the Greenwood Genetic Center, found that individuals with autism showed significantly decreased metabolism of tryptophan when compared with individuals without the disorder.

"I'm guessing if they can get this in the laboratory, it will go to human trial fairly quickly, and from there, to working in the clinics, where we can draw this blood test and get everything determined there," Torres said.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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