Must Know: Hair Can Now Be Used To Diagnose Autism In Children

In a new study, scientists used a single hair strand to create a universal test to detect autism.

With the help of a single strand of hair, scientists have created a universal test that can detect autism in newborns. Autistic children tend to have higher levels of lead and aluminum in their blood, which is examined in the sample study. Currently, there is no recognised test for the disease, so medical personnel rely on the child’s developmental history and behavior to diagnose the illness.

Diagnoses are usually made quite late in the process. New York-based startup LinusBio says the newly developed test should not be used in isolation; rather, it should be used in conjunction with other strategies. According to them, narrowing the diagnostic window may be beneficial. At that time, the brain had already developed a great deal. The test searches for lead, cadmium, arsenic, zinc, and copper, as well as other substances associated with autism.

Autism affects the brain in a different way from normal development. People who have the condition may struggle to express themselves. They may have difficulty comprehending what others are thinking or feeling. They may also feel uneasy and anxious in unfamiliar situations and social settings.

A US study found that in the three years since 2017, the number of autism diagnoses has increased by 50%.

Written by Aly Bukshi

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