In a study published in the current online issue of JAMA Psychiatry, an international team of scientists, led by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, report finding a highly accurate blood-based measure that could lead to development of a clinical test for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) risk in males as young as one to two years old. The test could be done in community pediatric settings.

The degree of accuracy, they said, out performs other behavioral and genetic screens for infants and toddlers with ASD described in literature.

The causes of ASD are complex and diverse, making it difficult to conclusively diagnose the disease much before a child’s fourth year of life. Indeed, the median age of diagnosis in the United States is 53 months.

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