Telegraph newspaper article on potential Autism test

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/7801077/Autism-test-could-make-the-condition-preventable.html

Autism test could make the condition 'preventable'
Autism could be turned into a "preventable" disease after British scientists develop a simple test for the condition.

By Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent
Published: 6:00PM BST 03 Jun 2010

Diagnosis of autism has always been difficult and often the condition remains unrecognised until too late for treatment to have a maximum effect.
But now researchers at Imperial College London have discovered a potential way of spotting the disorder in children as young as six months old.

They have found that children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) also suffer from disorders in their gut and that this can be detected with a simple urine test.

That would mean that intensive behavioural and social treatment could begin before the disease has caused any permanent psychological damage.

Professor Jeremy Nicholson, the author of the study, said: "Children with autism have very unusual gut microbes which we can test for before the full blown symptoms of the disease come through.
"If that is the case then it might become a preventable disease."


It is estimated that around one in 100 people have autism, meaning there are around 500,000 in Britain.

The condition covers a wide spectrum of disorders with cases ranging from relatively mild problems with social interaction to more severe difficulties in behaviour such as not speaking or copying, rigid routines and social isolation.

While the causes of the condition remain a mystery, early and intensive treatment is known to help alleviate the symptoms.

The problem is that diagnosis can be difficult and often relies on waiting for the symptoms to develop by which time a lot of damage has been done.

At present, children are assessed for autism through a lengthy process involving a range of tests that explore the child's social interaction, communication and imaginative skills.

Early intervention can greatly improve the progress of children with autism but it is currently difficult to establish a firm diagnosis until children begin speaking.

The latest breakthrough shows that it is possible to distinguish between autistic and non-autistic children by looking at the by-products of gut bacteria and the body's digestive processes in the children's urine.

Prof Nicholson, who worked with the University of South Australia, said that the test, which costs as little as 5, could be used in children as young as six months old.

Most children are not diagnosed until they are at least two.

Eventually the link between the learning difficulties and the gut microbes could be established and that could lead to "probiotic" treatments or cures.

The researchers reached their conclusions by using a Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy which is able to analyse the make-up of chemicals.

They used the machine on samples three groups of children aged between three and nine – 39 children who had previously been diagnosed with autism, 28 non-autistic siblings of children with autism, and 34 children who did not have autism and did not have an autistic sibling.

They found that each of the three groups had a distinct chemical fingerprint. Non-autistic children with autistic siblings had a different chemical fingerprint than those without any autistic siblings, and autistic children had a different chemical fingerprint than the other two groups.

Now they want to test the technique on a larger group of younger children in the next two years with the idea of having it available within five years for full medical approval in five.

The findings were published in the journal of Proteome Research.

Deepa Korea, Chief Executive, Research Autism said, "We welcome any scientifically robust research, which has been subject to the highest research methodology, that advances the improvement of early diagnosis of autism spectrum conditions, so that children can receive appropriate support from as early an age as possible.

"We recognise that more work needs to be carried out in this area."
 

julius

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Can anybody find the actual study? I really want to know more about this one. Especially which test and where can I get it done.
 
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This is the content of their web page.

Imperial College London news release

For immediate release
Thursday 3 June 2010

Children with autism have a different chemical fingerprint in their urine than non-autistic children, according to new research published tomorrow in the print edition of the Journal of Proteome Research.

The researchers behind the study, from Imperial College London and the University of South Australia, suggest that their findings could ultimately lead to a simple urine test to determine whether or not a young child has autism.

Autism affects an estimated one in every 100 people in the UK. People with autism have a range of different symptoms, but they commonly experience problems with communication and social skills, such as understanding other peoples emotions and making conversation and eye contact.

People with autism are also known to suffer from gastrointestinal disorders and they have a different makeup of bacteria in their guts from non-autistic people.

Today's research shows that it is possible to distinguish between autistic and non-autistic children by looking at the by-products of gut bacteria and the bodys metabolic processes in the children's urine. The exact biological significance of gastrointestinal disorders in the development of autism is unknown.

The distinctive urinary metabolic fingerprint for autism identified in today's study could form the basis of a non-invasive test that might help diagnose autism earlier. This would enable autistic children to receive assistance, such as advanced behavioural therapy, earlier in their development than is currently possible.

At present, children are assessed for autism through a lengthy process involving a range of tests that explore the child's social interaction, communication and imaginative skills. Early intervention can greatly improve the progress of children with autism but it is currently difficult to establish a firm diagnosis when children are under 18 months of age, although it is likely that changes may occur much earlier than this.

The researchers suggest that their new understanding of the makeup of bacteria in autistic children's guts could also help scientists to develop treatments to tackle autistic people's gastrointestinal problems.


The researchers used H NMR Spectroscopy to analyse the urine of children aged between 3 and 9
Professor Jeremy Nicholson, the corresponding author of the study, who is the Head of the Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial College London, said: "Autism is a condition that affects a person's social skills, so at first it might seem strange that there's a relationship between autism and whats happening in someone's gut. However, your metabolism and the makeup of your gut bacteria reflect all sorts of things, including your lifestyle and your genes. Autism affects many different parts of a person's system and our study shows that you can see how it disrupts their system by looking at their metabolism and their gut bacteria.

"We hope our findings might be the first step towards creating a simple urine test to diagnose autism at a really young age, although this may be a long way off - such a test could take years to develop. We know that giving therapy to children with autism when they are very young can make a huge difference to their progress. A urine test might enable professionals to quickly identify children with autism and help them early on," he added.

The researchers are now keen to investigate whether metabolic differences in people with autism are related to the causes of the condition or are a consequence of its progression.

The researchers reached their conclusions by using H NMR Spectroscopy to analyse the urine of three groups of children aged between 3 and 9: 39 children who had previously been diagnosed with autism, 28 non-autistic siblings of children with autism, and 34 children who did not have autism who did not have an autistic sibling.

They found that each of the three groups had a distinct chemical fingerprint. Non-autistic children with autistic siblings had a different chemical fingerprint than those without any autistic siblings, and autistic children had a different chemical fingerprint than the other two groups.

-ends-


For further information please contact:

Laura Gallagher
Research Media Relations Manager
Imperial College London
e-mail: l.gallagher@imperial.ac.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)207 594 8432 or ext. 48432
Out of hours duty Press Officer: +44 (0)7803 886 248


Notes to editors:

1. "Urinary Metabolic Phenotyping Differentiates Children with Autism from Their Unaffected Siblings and Age-Matched Controls," Journal of Proteome Research, published in print 4 June 2010

Corresponding author: Jeremy Nicholson, Imperial College London (for full list of authors please see paper)

2. About Imperial College London

Consistently rated amongst the world's best universities, Imperial College London is a science-based institution with a reputation for excellence in teaching and research that attracts 14,000 students and 6,000 staff of the highest international quality. Innovative research at the College explores the interface between science, medicine, engineering and business, delivering practical solutions that improve quality of life and the environment - underpinned by a dynamic enterprise culture.

Since its foundation in 1907, Imperial's contributions to society have included the discovery of penicillin, the development of holography and the foundations of fibre optics. This commitment to the application of research for the benefit of all continues today, with current focuses including interdisciplinary collaborations to improve global health, tackle climate change, develop sustainable sources of energy and address security challenges.

In 2007, Imperial College London and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust formed the UK's first Academic Health Science Centre. This unique partnership aims to improve the quality of life of patients and populations by taking new discoveries and translating them into new therap ies as qu ickly as possible. Website: www.imperial.ac.uk
 

Rosemary

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Thank you for this information V99

This research reminds me of Paul Shattock's research .....Sir Paul has spent the past decade analysing thousands of urine
samples from people with autism.
[ Paul Shattock, scientific consultant to the Espa Autism Research Unit in Sunderland ]


He believes that the prime suspect for the steady increase in autism cases in the UK is exposure to organophosphates contained in modern
pesticides.

also interesting to note that the Sunderland research unit recently acquired a sophisticated 'mass spectrometry machine' which can identify minute chemical traces in bodily fluids.

In the Telegraph study above they used a 'Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy '
Does anyone know more about the type of machines that they are using for this testing ?



Quote from Telegraph research above

" The researchers reached their conclusions by using a ' Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy ' which is able to analyse the make-up of chemicals.

They used the machine on samples three groups of children aged between three and nine – 39 children who had previously been diagnosed with autism, 28 non-autistic siblings of children with autism, and 34 children who did not have autism and did not have an autistic sibling.

They found that each of the three groups had a distinct chemical fingerprint. Non-autistic children with autistic siblings had a different chemical fingerprint than those without any autistic siblings, and autistic children had a different chemical fingerprint than the other two groups. "
 

Rosemary

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Is this then linked to the CD26/DPP1V impairment and the subsequent inability to break down neuropeptides ?

As Athene kindly explained on the thread below it is actually Paul Shattock that is also doing the gluteomorphin and caseomorphin research and testing at Sunderland

Klimas London presentation, CD26/DPPIV impaired in CFS - retroviral involvement?
http://www.forums.aboutmecfs.org/sh...-impaired-in-CFS-retroviral-involvement/page3

Quote from Athene

In case anyone is interested, this explains the gluteomorphin and caseomorphin research project done at the University of Sunderland

http://www.espa-research.org.uk//urine.html

They've been analysing urine samples for years, have done thousands, and have found consistent results. The link explains some of the requirements for reliable results in detecting these unstable organic compounds. The wee needs to be very fresh and stored with a preservative for a max of 24 hours. This may be where the other research project failed.

If you live in the UK you can get your wee tested by them for these gluten and dairy derived compounds - it's not expensive. Follow link for details.

For anyone interested in trying GFCF, there is a lot of info on this site.
 

Rosemary

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Can anybody find the actual study? I really want to know more about this one. Especially which test and where can I get it done.
Hi Julius....BTW you are so CUTE !

If you are interested here is some information about the ESPA Research testing [UK] by Paul Shattock
ESPA Research (Autism Research Unit)

Our research
Our primary research interests include:

1.The potential use and effectiveness of gluten-(and/or casein-) free diets for the alleviation of some of the symptoms of autism [ClinicalTrials.gov ID: NCT00614198] (see 'ScanBrit trial').

2. Analysis of the urine of people with autism and related conditions to seek chemical entities that could provide insight into any underlying metabolic abnormalities and/or predict best or non-responders to dietary intervention.

3.The application of a health informatics approach to autism and related conditions.

Details of journal papers and books published by members of ESPA Research can be found in 'Publications'. Details of our primary research goals can be downloaded by clicking below.

http://www.espa-research.org.uk//research.html
 

julius

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Thanks Rosemary,

I just looked at the site and emailed them a question. I am not sure if their tests are available to ppl in Canada.
 

natasa778

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just reading the abstract, the newspaper article was off the mark (no kidding :) - the study was not about early detection, and results do NOT indicate that these markers were present from an early age....


but they are def there now!

Novel findings associated with alterations in nicotinic acid metabolism within autistic individuals showing increased urinary excretion of N-methyl-2-pyridone-5-carboxamide, N-methyl nicotinic acid, and N-methyl nicotinamide indicate a perturbation in the tryptophan−nicotinic acid metabolic pathway. Multivariate statistical analysis indicated urinary patterns of the free amino acids, glutamate and taurine were significantly different between groups with the autistic children showing higher levels of urinary taurine and a lower level of urinary glutamate, indicating perturbation in sulfur and amino acid metabolism in these children. Additionally, metabolic phenotype (metabotype) differences were observed between autistic and control children, which were associated with perturbations in the relative patterns of urinary mammalian-microbial cometabolites including dimethylamine, hippurate, and phenyacetylglutamine. 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.

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/pr901188e?prevSearch=autism&searchHistoryKey=


btw ryptophan−nicotinic acid metabolic pathway is linked to IDO/interferron pathway, ie infection/inflammation!
 

aquariusgirl

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rich
if you're reading this... isn't it odd that urinary glutamate would be low ??
I thought amy was finding the reverse..unless these kids were already on a gluten free diet.
I think I'm missing sthg here....
 

richvank

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rich
if you're reading this... isn't it odd that urinary glutamate would be low ??
I thought amy was finding the reverse..unless these kids were already on a gluten free diet.
I think I'm missing sthg here....
Hi, Aquarius.

That surprised me, too. I think the elevated taurine is consistent with Dr. Amy's findings, and she would certainly agree with the perturbation of sulfur metabolism and amino acids metabolism, but yes, the low glutamate is a little puzzling.

Rich
 

natasa778

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the low glutamate is a little puzzling.

It is actually quite usual for some of markers to be present in different levels in blood versus CNS, ie for some neurotransmitter molecules low blood levels would automatically indicate HIGH CNS LEVELS. And the other way round.

I don't know if glutamate is on of those :Retro redface:, but it would make sense...
 

JillBohr

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I think this is great that they may have a potential (and cheap) biomarker for autism. If I knew then what I knew now, I would have had my kids on probiotics (and other treatments) much much earlier. I would love to compare the urine results with ME/CFS patients. I am also thrilled that researchers are taking a serious look at the gut issue. This is a major problem for my children. I can eat almost anything (I swear I have the stomach of a stray dog) and I wonder if that is why I am not sick.
 

julius

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Hi Julius....I hope that you received some feedback and answers to your questions
Yep, I can do it from Canada, anywhere in the world in fact. It's 60 pounds (around $100 I think). I have to learn a bit more to see if it's worth it for me.
 

Rosemary

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Yep, I can do it from Canada, anywhere in the world in fact. It's 60 pounds (around $100 I think). I have to learn a bit more to see if it's worth it for me.
Thanks for your reply...That's good to know that you can do the test from Canada and anywhere in the world....good idea to find out more first to see if its worth it
FYI ...They recently [FEB 2010] acquired a new sophisticated mass spectrometry machine

" The Sunderland research unit recently acquired a sophisticated mass spectrometry machine which can identify minute chemical traces in bodily fluids."

also interesting to know that Mr Shattock who has long suspected a link between the MMR triple vaccine and autism has said he still thinks there is “a possibility”

http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/4889878.Autism_link_with_MMR_jab____a_possibility___/

We are not saying that there definitely is a link, we are just saying we should find out,” said Mr Shattock, who founded Espa after his son was diagnosed with autism.
 

Rosemary

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I would be interested in finding out more about elevated levels of a chemical called dolichol ? there is an increase in dolichol levels in CFS... and dolichol can be picked up in a urine test.
Just therefore wondering if anyone has looked at the dysfunction in the isoprenoid pathway in CFS ? Any Thoughts

" A report on isoprenoid pathway dysfunction in CFS (Kurup & Kurup, 2003) showed that there was an increase in dolichol levels, carbohydrate residues of glycoproteins, glycolipids, total/individual glycosaminoglycans fractions and lysosomal enzymes in CFS."

CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME PATIENTS HAVE SERUM N-GLYCOSYLATION CHANGES WHICH MAY REFLECT DOLICHOL DYSFUNCTION
http://www.abstracts2view.com/eular/view.php?nu=EULAR08L_THU0361
 
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In other autism news...

I saw this in my local newspaper the West Australian (known locally as the 'Worst Australian') and thought it may be of interest:


http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/wa/7380434/new-gene-find-for-autism/

The world's biggest DNA scan for autism has uncovered new genetic changes linked to the condition which US researchers say could help doctors diagnose children earlier and deliver improved treatment.

The results, published in the journal Nature by the Autism Genome Project led by the Mount Sinai school of medicine in New York, could speed the development of the first genetic test for the condition, which affects up to one in 160 Australians.

A detailed study of almost 1000 children with autism and their parents found sections of the DNA were either missing or duplicated in people with the condition.


...

The results coincided yesterday with the release of a study by Melbourne researchers who found that special brain markers for autism could be seen in a scan known as an electroencephalogram.

Swinburne University said the scan recorded activity in the brain prompted by visual images and could become a new tool to diagnose autism.